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Columbia ®nit)er^ttp 

THE LIBRARIES 




MEMOIRS 



OF 



THE BAROMSS D'OBEMIRCH, 



COUNTESS DE MONTBRISON. 



WRITTEN BY HERSELF, 



AND 

EDITED BY HER GRANDSON, 

THE COUNT DE MONTBRISON. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. I. 



LONDON: 
COLBURN AND CO., PUBLISHEES, 

GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1852. 



The Count de Montbrison hereby notifies that he reserves the right of 
Translating this Work in France. 



C 



** 



LONDON : 
PRINTED BY SCHULZE AND CO., 13 POLAND STREET. 



fl Oh 



2- 2_ 



I 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I 



Chapter I. 



Page 



Introduction — My birth — My grandfathers and grand- 
mothers — Malhause — My father — My mother dies 
young — My uncles — The Bouillon regiment — King 
Dagobert — The castle of Schweighausen — My edu- 
cation — My godmother — The Waldners — The 
Berekheim — The Glaubitz — Montbehard — Arrival 
of the Prince Eugene 1 

Chapter II. 

The Baron Waldner at Paris — Presentation at Ver- 
sailles — The prince of Montbeliard and his family — 
Description of his mother, princess of La Tour and 
Taxis — First visit — The castle of Montbeliard — 
Princess Dorothea of Wurtemberg — Mdlle. Schnei- 
der, my waiting-maid — Madame Hendel, femme- 
de-charge at Montbeliard — Baron Maucler — Birth 
of a prince — Erection of the chateau of Etupes — 
Visit of the reigning duke — Some account of this 
prince — Negotiation for his marriage — Extrava- 
gances ; the States remonstrate — The duke is 
affianced — Countess Hohenheim — Prince Louis 
Eugene — Three brothers called Eugene, and why . 20 

VOL. L b 



U^J 1' V 



IV CONTENTS. 



Chapter III. 



Page 



The daupliiness at Strasburg — Etiquette observed 
towards foreign princes — Entree of Marie Antoi- 
nette — Rejoicings and presentations — Description 
of the dauphiness — Pavihon in the Isle du Rhin — 
Disagreeable prognostic — Happy saying of the 
dauphiness — Rejoicings at Montbehard — The 
baron and baroness Boreck — Countess Wartens- 
leben — BUnd-man^s Buff — Audience of the prince ; 
grievances — Princess Dorothea of Wurtemberg — 
Her affection for me — Her mother's confidence in 
me — Soubriquets — Milord Carcasso — Origin of 
' Lane ' — Birth of a prince — Gardens at Etupes — 
M. Tronchin — Antiquities of Mondau — The hermit 
— The page — Surprise — Government of Mont- 
behard — Theatrical representations at Etupes — 
M. de Beroldingen — The prince of Murbach — Vis- 
count Bombelles — Marriage of a Catholic and 
Protestant null — Duchess Mazarin — Discussions 
— M. de Wittgenstein— Baron Reinbach — General 
Strahlenheim — Baron Obenheim — General Wan- 
gen — Order of military merit — Jews — Ollwillon — 
Count Waldner, first grand cross — Birth of Prince 
Frederic— Bull of Clement XIV. — Death of 
Louis XV. — Poufs au sentiraent — Margrave of 
Bareith and Mdlle. Clairon — Accidental death of 
duke de Deux-Ponts — Duel of Bai^on Pirch . . 38 

Chapter IV. 

Strasburg — Duke d'AiguiUon, Marshal Contades, 
Baron Lort, M. de Marzy - Madame Berekheim — 
M. de Dietrich — M. and Madame Franck — Luxury 
of Prince Heyderscheim — Chapter of Ollmarsheim 
— Mademoiselle de Flachsland — Fashionable 
colours — Lavater's letter — I send him my sil- 



CONTENTS. 



Page 



houette — Consecration of the bishop of Basle — 
Hereditary charge of Rothberg — House of Wangen 
— M. Gothe writes to me — Strange letter from 
M. Lavater — My marriage — Baron Oberkirch — 
Messrs. de Wurmser — I write to Princess Doro- 
thea — Conversation with my father — Interview — 
Kindness of the princes of Wurtemberg — The 
wedding day — M. de Turckheim — The dowager 
baroness Oberkirch, nee de Buch — Another letter 
from M. Lavater — Marriage of Princess Dorothea — 
Negotiation of Prince Henry of Prussia — His con- 
nection with Catherine II — The G rand-duke Paul 
Petrowitz sets out for Berlin — Departure of the 
princess — Sad adieus — She writes to me the day 
of her interview with the prince — Her letter — She 
is re-baptized and called Mary Foederowna — 
Nuptials — Another letter from the grand-duchess 
— She sets out for St. Petersburg — She writes 
again to me — Charming letter — Return of her 
parents to Montbeliard — Touching episode — Letter 
of M. Wieland 73 



Chapter V. 

Birth of my daughter — Her illustrious godfathers 
and godmothers — Disappointment of M. d' Ober- 
kirch — Letter from the grand-duchess of Russia — 
Another letter from her — The Emperor Joseph II. 
at Stuttgard — Jest of Duke Charles— Naivete of 
the marshal of the Court — Fief of Falkenstein — 
The postilion prince — Joseph II. at Strasburg — 
M. de Vogn6 — Description of the emperor — His 
dress — Ma.rket-woman — Verses — Disappointment 
of Voltaire — The executioner of Colmar — Gag — 
Execution — Mademoiselle Heizelberg, a singer — 
Eirth of Alexander Paulowitz .... 109 



VI CONTENTS. 



Chapter VI. 

The new Hotel de Ville at Montbeliard — Les Beueries 
— Count Wurmser in Austria — Ambassador to the 
— Grand-duke of Eussia — Letter of Paul Petrowitz 
— Adventure of the Baroness Hahn — Prince Louis 
de Eohan — Birth of Constantine Paulo^\dtz — Ma- 
dame Schack — Marriage of Prince Nassau Saar- 
bruck — The comte of Saarbruck — Verses— M. de 
Dietrich — Rejoicings at the chateau of Eeishoflfen 
— The strange husband ..... 142 



Chapter VII. 

The commander made marechal-de-camp — The court 
at Montbeliard in mourning — Anger of Madame 
Hendel — Letter from Her Imperial Highness Mary 
— Madame Beckendorf — Caghostro at Strasburg — 
Visit to Cardinal Rohan — Saverne — Its magnifi- 
cence — Obelisk raised to Turenne— Caghostro is 
announced — His reception — Charlatanism — His 
influence on me — Predictions — Death of Maria 
Theresa — Her courage — Verses — Departure for 
Montbehard — M. de Waugens and M, de Witting- 
hoff — Death of Doctor Bernouille — Marriage of 
Princess Frederica — The coadjutor prince of Lu- 
beck — City and chapter of Lubeck — Titles of the 
prince — Arrival of the emperor at Montbeliard — I 
sup with his majesty — Object of his journey — 
Marriage of the grand-duke of Tuscany and Prin- 
cess Elizabeth — Confidence of the duchess of 
Montbehard — Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel — Friend- 
ship of Princess Antoinette for me — Departure 
dinner at Cardinal Rohan's — Caghostro again — 
FoUy of some women — Faith of the cardinal in 
Caghostro —Confidence — Eeflections . . 154 



Page 



I 



I 



CONTENTS. Vll 

Page 

Chapter VIII. 

Birth of a prince — Projected journey of the grand 
duke and duchess of Russia — They leave St. Peters- 
burg — The parents of the grand-duchess go to meet 
her— I go with them — Recej)tion at Stuttgard — I 
fall sick — Devotion of Mademoiselle Cramm — 
Regret — Consolation — Projected journey to Paris 

— Journal — Birth of the dauphin — Golden dol- 
phins — The nurse — Anniversary of the reunion of 
Strasburg to France — Rejoicings — M. Gerard — 
Play by M. Rochon de Chabannes — Tribute of the 
peasants — Princess Christiana— Chapter of Remire- 
mont — Disputes betw^een les dames tantes and Us 
dames nieces — Baroness Wimpffen — M. Plachsland 

— M. de St. Germain, minister of war — M. de 
Maurepas — His presentation at Fontainebleau — 
Singular dress — Tragic event — Death of the prin- 
cess of Wurtemberg 184 

Chapter IX. 

Party before my departure — M. Lagensteeker — 
Officers of the Alsatian regiment — Departure — 
Dowager baroness d'Oberkirch — The Catholic 
branch — M. de Butler and M. de Soettern — The 
Marquis of Talarn — LuneviUe — King Stanislaus 
— The gendarmes — Marshal Stainville — Prince 
Monaco — M. de StainviUe and the regent — The 
Zuckmantels — The countess of Lenencourt — The 
grands chevaux of Lorraine — The second order of 
knighthood — M. Franck, the great patriot — The 
Helvetius family — The Andlaus — The countess of 
LigneviUe — Nancy — Cathedral of Toul— The crabs 
— Na'ivet§ of an innkeeper — The rock of Sisyphus 

— The custom-house officers — Chalons-sur-Marne 

— Champagne and Rhine wine — Paris — Prince 
Baratinsky — Champigny — The marchioness de la 



Vlll CONTENTS. 



Page 



Salle — The dresses of the countess du Nord — 
Supper with Baroness Hahn — I go to Fontaine- 
bleau to meet the countess du Nord . . . 203 

Chapter X. 

Arrival of the countess du Nord — Affectionate inter- 
view — Goodness of the countess du Nord — The 
marchioness of Bombelles — Her family — Madame 
Thavanet — Madame de Louvois — Follies of M. 
de Louvois — Strange anecdote — Mademoiselle 
Colombe — Crowd at the Russian embassy — De- 
scription of the count du Nord — M. and Madame 
Beckendorf — Prince Kourakin — Generosity of the 
countess du Nord — Procession of the hlue rthhons 
— The countess Skawronski — The countess Zolti- 
koff — General Wurmser — The Russian Court at 
Versailles — Baroness Mackan — Prince Baratinsky 
— Presentation of the count and countess du Nord 
— Timidity of Louis XVI. — The count du Nord 
visits the dauphin — The countess of Vergennes — 
The royal family — The high officers of the crown — 
Marshal Duras — Prince Beauvau — Marshal Biron — 
The countess of Provence — The countess d'Artois 
— Concert at court — The queen dispenses with the 
ceremony of my presentation — Her majesty ad- 
dresses me several times — Legros — Madame Mara 
— Supper at Madame Mackan's — Politeness of the 
count du Nord — The opera — Conflagration — 
Theatre at the Porte St. Martin — Rondo — Acci- 
dent — Goodness of the countess du Nord — Pre- 
sentiment — Petit Trianon — The queen of Golconda 
— M. de Monsigny — Supper at Princess Chinay's — 
Her monkey — The flower-girls of the Pont Neuf — 
Prisoners of " La Force " — The king's reprimand 
to M. St. Louis — The royal children of France — The 
wives of the Crown ministers — M. de Maurepas — 



CONTENTS. ix 



Page 



Tastes of Louis XVI.— The dukes of Aumont and 
Villequier— The duchess of Villeroy — M. de la 
Harpe— The princess of Bouillon— The duchess of 
Bouillon and Mademoiselle Lecouvreur — The coun- 
tess of Hallwill— The viscountess of Equevilly — 
The Vautrait— The jargon of fashion . . . 225 

Chapter XL 

The countess du Nord at Notre-Dame — St. Peter's 
and Notre-Dame — Gift from the queen — Iphigenie 
en Tauride — Mdlle. Laguerre intoxicated — The 
duke of Bouillon, her lover— Couplets — Order of 
Felicity — Origin of Gluckists and Piccinists — 
Dancing — M. de Beaumarchais at the countess du 
Nord's — Jealousy of La Harpe — Reading of the 
'Marriage of Figaro '—Seance at the Academy — 
M. d'Arnoud — Canes a la Barmecide —The countess 
du Nord at the Theatre Fran9ais— Verses — The 
new theatre — The actors — The pretended decay of 
art — Le Petit Dunquerque — Variet6s Amusantes . 263 

Chapter XII. 

Visit to the countess de Vergennes — Adventure of 
Mdlle. *'^* — Indiscreet remark of the countess de 
Polignac — Brevet de dame — Court theatricals — 
Mdlle. Heinel, an opera dancer, retires to a convent 
— Verses — The rhymers of France — The princess 
de Chinay — Countess de Henin Lieland — The 
countess du Nord at Notre-Dame — Ordinance of 
the king concerning Protestant children — The 
countess de Bruce — Jealousy of Catherine II. — 
Disgrace — Les Invahdes — M. Thelusson — The 
Palais Royal — ^The cat of the house — A small house 
— Wit of Mdlle. Dervieux — An anecdote — Supper 
at Madame de Thavanet's — Reply to the king by 



CONTEXTS. 



Page 



M. De G***— The count du Nord at Bagatelle- 
Verses — The duchess de Lauzuu — Insolent admi- 
ration of the duke de Lauzun for the queen — The 
princess de H6nin and Mdlle. Arnould— Society of 
the princess de Bouillon — The globes of Father 
Coronelli— The gi-and-duke at the tomb of Riche- 
lieu — The opera of ' Theseus ' — The queen and the 
countess du Nord at the 'Bal d'opera' — Adven- 
ture of the duke de Chartres at the ball — Re- 
flections of the count du Nord 279 

Chapter XIII. 

Breakfast at the duke of Penthievre's — Account of 
the marriage of the duke of Chartres — The king's 
repugnance to it — The Carmelites— M. Prati — 
Verses — Gross flattery — The duchess of Chartres' 
visit to the countess du Nord — Mesdames de 
Lcewestine and de Genhs' — Establishment of St. 
Sulpice — Gift of the czarina — The Boutin foUy — 
The count du Nord and M. Necker — Madame 
Necker and her daughter — M. de Condorcet — 
Incident at Madame de Montesson's — Her mar- 
riage with the duke of Orleans — Remark of 
Madame du Barry - M. de Caumartin — MdUes. 
Dugazon, Colombe, Lescot, and the Italian opera 
— Theatricals at Trianon — The queen sj)eaks to me 
— At supper I sit next to Madame Ehzabeth— 
Conversation about the Lort family — The female 
philosopher, author of thirty-two volumes . . 305 



MEMOIRS 



OF 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRGH. 



CHAPTER I. 

Introduction — My birth — My grandfathers and grand- 
mothers — Malhause — My father — My mother dies 
young — My uncles — The Bouillon regiment — King 
Dagobert — The castle of Schweighausen — My edu- 
cation — My godmother — The Waldners — The Berek- 
heim — The Glaubitz — Montbehard — Arrival of the 
Prince Eugene. 

The pages wliicli I present to my reader are not 
memoirs, they are rather recollections. I have 
never had the slightest pretension to be a hel 
esprit, or to occupy a niche in the temple of Fame. 
I write that I may pass over in my mind the prin- 
cipal events of my life ; they are deeply interesting 
to me, nor will they be less so to my daughter. I 
know not in what light they may appear to others. 
I speak little of what concerns myself personally ; 
just as much as is necessary to make me known, 
and to prove that I have seen what I relate. My 

VOL. I. B 



Z MEMOIRS OF 

thoughts and my reflections are exclusively my 
own, I am not accountable to any person for them. 
My recollections are dear to me because I alone 
have a right to them. To divulge them would be to 
diminish the happiness they afford me. These pages, 
then, are but as a casket in which I place them, 
whence I may draw them forth in my old age. 

I write these pages in 1789, in my thirty-fifth 
year. I kept, in '82, a journal in which I minutely 
detailed my travels, with Madame la comtesse du 
Nord, to Paris, and from thence, through Brittany, 
Normandy, Picardy, Holland, and the Electoral 
States. 

I observed the same practice in '84 and '86, 
during two visits I made to Paris, whither I was 
drawn by the' kindness with which H.S.H. Ma- 
dame la duchesse de Bourbon deigned to honour 
me. I combine these journals and these notes to 
form the history of the first thirty-five years of my 
life. I speak in it of those that I have known ; of 
facts of which I have been the witness ; of the re- 
markable personages of this century with whom I 
have been intimately or distantly acquainted, or 
with whom I have had either personal or family 
connections. I add some of the letters which 
have been written to me by H.I.H. Madame 
la grande-duchesse Maria Foederowna. This 
august princess, spite of her abode in a foreign. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 3 

land, still entertains for me the deep and tender 
affection which sprung up in our infancy, and is 
good enough to write to me sometimes. My re- 
spectful devoted ness to this amiable princess is one 
of the most profound sentiments of my heart. 
As these memoirs may one day meet the eye of 
the careless or the cold, I would scruple to inter- 
weave in them that part of our correspondence 
which is solely confidential ; I cannot, however, 
resist the desire of making my daughter and her 
children, if she ever have any, acquainted with this 
noble mind, this tender heart, and this pure and 
lofty imagination, which the highest degree of 
worldly honours has never for a moment been able 
to corrupt, and which unconsciously reveal them- 
selves in this correspondence. 

The description of some of our ruined castles of 
Alsace leads me naturally to speak of the nobility 
of this country, of its local government, and the 
habits of its people — recitals which will, I fear, a 
few years hence, become matters of curious inquiry, 
for the tempest threatens the ancient social edifice, 
and God only knows how far His anger may pursue 
this perverse and abandoned generation. 

I shall often be obliged to relate things alike 
repugnant to my feelings and my principles, but 
which portray the epoch in which we live. I 
will, however, avoid low gossip, not possessing a 

b2 



4 MEMOIRS OF 

talent for that style of wTiting wliicli gives such 
things currency. I record facts either more or less 
serious, and I will have at least the merit of an 
exact adherence to truth. I must, however, ob- 
serve, that the spirit of the times often found vent 
in certain expressions which, though far from ele- 
gant, I shall be obliged to record, believing them 
to be characteristic of the period. Must not the 
painter use the tint which will best portray his 
sulject? 

Now that I have warned my readers, if I should 
have any, of what they are to expect in these pages, 
I hasten to commence my subject, having always 
detested long prefaces. 

I was born on the 5th of June 1754, in the 
castle of Schweighausen, in Upper Alsace. 

I am the daughter of Francis Lewis, baron de 
Waldner de Freundstein, who became count on the 
death of his brother, and of Wilhelmina Augusta 
Elenora Sophia de Berekheim, of the branch of 
Ribecauville.* 

My maternal grandmother was still alive at the 
time of my birth. My other grand-parents had 
died before that event. This lady was a Berek- 
heim of the branch of Jebsheim, and had married 
her cousin Philij) -Frederick, baron de Berekheim- 

* Eibfecauville, or Rapolsweger, a lordship beloDging ori- 
ginally to the house of Eapolstein or Ribeaupierre. 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIECH. 5 

Ribecauville. Thus my mother united in her own 
person the two branches of this house, one of the 
most illustrious of the province. 

My grandfather de Waldner had married a 
Wurmser of the branch of Yenderheim-Sonderhau- 
sen, who died at Malhause in 1743. Her husband 
had died at the same place in 1735. I was bap- 
tised on the 7th of June 1754, in the parish church 
of Malhause, in the holy evangelical Protestant 
faith. My godfathers were Louis Anstatt de Wald- 
ner and Christian Louis Berekheim, my maternal 
uncle ; my godmothers, the comtesse de Waldner, 
nee de Vologer, wife of my uncle Dagobert. This 
uncle was afterwards lieutenant-general in the 
royal army, and Eve de Wurmser, cousin-german 
to my father. I was baptized Henrietta Louisa. 

Malhause was an important city allied to Switz- 
erland, and in which the Waldners had enjoyed at 
all times the honorary right of citizenship. This 
prerogative gives the right of serving in the Hel- 
vetic troops, amongst which the Waldners have a 
regiment. In order to preserve this privilege, the 
sons of our family were always baptized at Mal- 
hause, and the worthy citizens seemed highly 
flattered by this piece of politeness. Their terri- 
tory is surrounded on all sides by France. The 
aristocratic government is composed of seventy- 
eight members, and of three burgomasters, each 



b MEMOIRS OF 

governing in his turn. The domains of Malhause 
do not extend far beyond the walls of the city. 
The inhabitants are of the Protestant religion. 

There were, I have been told, great festivities 
at my baptism. I was treated as an heir. I 
would to Heaven that I were so ! I should not 
then be obliged to await in fearful expectation 
those convulsions which already announce them- 
selves, without entertaining a hope of being useful 
to my country, to my sovereigTis, who have over- 
whelmed me with kindness, to the cause of my 
caste and of my ancestors. I cannot persuade 
myself that a change of measures "svill bring an 
increase of happiness ; on the contrary, I believe 
that the destruction of the monarchy is inevitable, 
if our sovereigns enter on this dangerous path. 
May I be mistaken ! 

My father, the baron Francis Louis de Waldner, 
head of the family, served at first as captain, then 
as major, in the Royal Cavalry. He became after- 
wards colonel a la suite in the regiment Wurtem- 
berg, and at length commanding colonel of the 
regiment de Bouillon, from the 27th of February 
1759, to the 1st of May 1760, when he retired. 

He is chevalier of the order of military merit, 
which is given to Protestant officers instead of the 
cross of St. Louis, and which differs from the latter 
only in the colour of the ribbon. 



THE BARONESS D'0BERKIRCH» 7 

He is also commander of the order of St. John 
of Jerusalem, and president of the resident nobility 
in the circle of Suabia, canton of Ortenau. 

I never knew my mother, and my earliest recol- 
lection is that of the mourning dress which I wore 
for her when I was three or four years old. That 
was my age when she died. Poor mother ! I have 
often regretted her. Her counsels would have 
been so useful to me at my entrance into the 
great world ; and since that I myself have had a 
daughter, I feel how my mother would have loved 
me. She was married in 1751, and died at Bal-- 
denheim in 1757, in the flower of her youth and 
splendour of her beauty. She left three childreUj 
two sons and myself. The eldest of my brothers 
died young, as we shall see afterwards, and now in 
1789 there remains to me only my youngest 
brother Godfrey, in whom the hopes of his family 
are centred. 

My father had three brothers, one of whom, 
lieutenant-colonel in the regiment de Waldner, 
died at Paris in 1764. I have only a slight recol- 
lection of him. Of the two survivors, one, Christian 
Frederick Dagobert count de Waldner, is lieu- 
tenant-general and proprietaire of the Swiss 
regiment de Waldner. 

The other, chevalier and afterwards commander 
of the Teutonic order, has been up to 1767 



8 MEMOIRS OF 

colonel of the regiment de Bouillon. He replaced 
my father in this post, and left to become colonel 
of the royal Swiss-German regiment. My father 
and I visited him in his garrison in June 1766. 
How beautiful was that regiment de Bouillon ! 
What admirable discipline ! what order 1 what 
daring courage ! My father was enraptured, and 
my childish imagination deeply impressed. The 
soldiers and officers adored their former colonel, 
and paid me the most profound respect. I thought 
myself a personage of importance where I was 
so honoured by these moustached warriors, who 
always gave me a mihtary salute. How magnifi- 
cent my uncle seemed to me in his white coat 
with black facings, adorned with eight silver clasps 
(I have counted them; it was the act of a little 
girl), the collar, turned over, was also trimmed 
with silver lace a crejyines. I was at that time 
only tv/elve years of age, but all these things still 
present themselves vividly to my mind. That 
which struck me most, as I have said, was the 
affection of the older officers for my father. The 
tenderness of their attachment resembled that of a 
lover for a mistress. The prince de Bouillon, 
jyrojjrietaire of the regiment, could not have been 
received with more distinction. 

I remember nothing of my uncle Dagobeii: but 
his comical name. My brothers and I, when 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 9 

children^ could not cease to speak of it, and no 
sooner was his name mentioned than the unlucky- 
song, with all its consequences, presented itself to 
our minds. My little brother Godfrey used to get 
into roars of laughter, for which we were both 
scolded, for I joined in them. A family tradition 
(I cannot vouch for its truth) was the cause of this 
odd name being introduced into our house. It is 
said that King Dagobert, master of the philosophic 
St. Eloi, became godfather, during his stay at 
Ruffach, to one of the ancient lords de Waldner. 
To perpetuate the remembrance of this honour, 
the name of Dagobert is found frequently inscribed 
on our genealogical tree. Whatever may be the 
truth of this tradition, certain it is that had the 
Almighty bestowed a son on me, I would not 
have given him this royal Christian name ; I would 
have feared that it might be the cause of his 
sister's supping on dry bread, a punishment to 
which I was condemned more than once, in 
memory of this great king of the first race. 

The castle of Schweighausen came into the pos- 
session of my ancestors on the extinction of a 
family that bore our name. It is situated on the 
route from Colmar to Belfort, a league to the 
south of Cernay, and a league and a half to the 
south-east of Thann, near an afflux of the Totter, 
or D otter, a little river issuing from the mountains 



10 MEMOIRS OF 

of Vosges, between Alsace and Lorraine. The 
Totter passes through Masvaux or Masmunster, and 
falls into the 111, a league above Malhause. 

Schweighausen is a large square building, flanked 
on the north by a tower with a belfry. It is sur- 
rounded by a deep moat, constantly filled with 
running water, supiDlied by a little stream, and 
separated from a pretty pond by beautifully laid- 
out gardens. The entrance is guarded by an old- 
fashioned bridge leading directly to the outer court- 
yard, which is surrounded by extensive out-offices. 

To the west the land rises in a semicircular form, 
thickly planted with majestic trees. Thence one 
has a view of the whole chain of the Yosges, inter- 
spersed with many a mouldering ruin, and beneath 
in the valley rise the village spires and many " a 
fair abbaye.'' The whole forms a magic picture. 
Wooded hills ascend as if in regular gradations ; 
the various shades of foliage, blending or contrast- 
ing, curtain the mountain side with a magnificent 
drapery. O Alsace ! my beloved country ! nothing 
has ever been able to efface your remembrance 
from my heart — nothing is comparable to the 
splendour with which Nature decks herself in 
your woods and your valleys, your mountains and 
your streams. I can well conceive what ought to 
be the enthusiasm of her children for such a 
country, — a country which offers every charm, and 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 11 

yields every comfort. I will speak hereafter of 
the castle of Freunstein, from which we have taken 
our name, and which was destroyed two centuries 
ago in the war of the Rustands, or peasants. 

I preferred Schweighausen to any spot on earth. 
The dear days of my childhood were passed there ; 
how happy were my brothers and I in that abode ! 
What good advice we received there ! What noble 
and what excellent examples were proposed to us ! 
My brothers were taught to sacrifice everything to 
honour and to duty, and I was desired to imitate 
my mother. We lived there in quiet and retire- 
ment, receiving the visits of our relatives and 
friends, praying to the Lord, and practising his 
holy religion, listening to the spoken word of God, 
and treasuring it up in our bosoms. Every evening 
we assembled round my father, who endeavoured 
to repay by the extreme tenderness of his affection 
the loss we had sustained in my mother. We lis- 
tened to his conversations with my uncles or the 
pious clergymen who often visited us at the castle. 
He related historical facts, the high deeds of our 
ancestors and of the people of Alsace, who have 
never bent beneath a foreign yoke, and scorned to 
admit a master. What giants these men were ! 
these noble knights, living in their eagle nests, 
and descending their mountains to redress, or, alas ! 
too often to oppress innocence. I adored these 



12 MEMOIRS OF 

legendary tales; I could listen to them for ever; 
and, true to these memories, I will insert a few of 
them in the pages I propose to -wTite. 

After the death of my mother, my father was ^ 
very much embarrassed about my education. The 
idea of placing me in a Catholic convent could 
not for a moment enter his mind. We held these 
houses in detestation. I was then much more in- 
tolerant than I now am. An intercourse with the 
world has mollified my bigotry, and I have been 
obliged to tolerate what I could not proscribe. At 
that time my exaggeratedj fervour — I borrow a 
phrase from the Roman Catholic devotees, not 
being able to find one more expressive — would not 
allow me to make any concession. I followed 
strictly the spirit and the letter of the law. My 
father favoured these ideas, and therefore begged my 
godmother, Madame Eve de Wurmser, to fulfil in 
my regard the duties of a mother. She consented. 

I still remember her inaugiiration in the castle, 
the apartments that were allotted her, and the 
pretty little chamber that was appointed me close 
to hers. The chamber and little drawinof-room 
which during my mother's life were used by her, 
remained shut up ; my father did not wish that 
my godmother should take possession of them. 
These wounds of his heart still bled freshly. Ma- 
dame de Wurmser superintended my education, 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 13 

which was based upon the strictest principles. She 
was a woman of elevated mind and strong -under- 
standing. She taught me a knowledge of the 
world, and made me feel that it was useless to ask 
her anything that she ought not to grant ; she 
taught me to govern my own mind, to repulse 
exaggerated fancies, the day-dreams of the imagi- 
nation. She had in early life known bitter sor- 
rows, which had rendered her pensive, nay almost 
sad. In her society my gaiety was soon damped, 
and I became in a little while edifyingly reserved 
and grave. My gTatitude to my godmother shall 
end only with my life. It is to her instructions I 
am indebted for anything that may render me 
valuable or useful in society. We often remained 
alone at Schweighausen when my father quitted 
it either for business or for pleasure. Madame de 
Wurmseris conversation made these days pass like 
minutes. I had from nature a decided taste for 
the study of history. I wished to know everything, 
to learn ever3rfching, to remember everjrthing. My 
extraordinary memory, especially for dates, assisted 
me, and smoothed away the difficulties. I could 
recite entire pages without a single mistake ; I 
abandoned myself with passionate ardour to the 
study of chronology, and had even the audacity to 
plunge into theological discussions. Madame de 
Wurmser soon forbid them ; and she was right, for 



14 MEMOIRS OF 

I had become a disputant. I introduced contro- 
versial subjects, and a disagreeable bitterness was 
too often mixed in my observations. I plunge';'^ to 
an immeasurable depth into abstruse inquuies and 
knotty arguments, often forgetting in the mazy 
route the point from which I had started ; and 
would have become inevitably either a fanatic or 
a fool. My wise and watchful guide preached 
toleration incessantly ; she succeeded in inculcating 
the principle, and I am become most indulgent 
towards the religious belief of others, provided 
they do not attack mine. 

One of my favourite studies, as may be easily 
conceived, was that of the chronicles of our house ; 
and I really believe this to be a salutary study. 
When one is fully convinced of the greatness of 
one's ancestors, one would blush to degenerate 
from them ; one feels a noble emulation to imitate 
them, and to run the same glorious career. Never 
was adage more true than that : noblesse oblige 
(nobility ennobles). 

Genealogists carry back our family to the time 
of Louis le Debonnaire, and to one of his generals 
named, as they say, Waldner, who signalized him- 
self in 814 in the war against Kartwin, mayor of 
the palace, a revolutionist of that time accused of 
peculation and other courtesies of that kind. The 
genealogical charts of the third century which I 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 15 

have consulted mention the Waldners as noble- 
men of high antiquity even then. They sustained 
during seven years a war against the city of Zurich, 
which had seized their suzerain, John of Hapsburg^ 
and kept him prisoner. In retaliation they shut 
up in their castle all the Zurichians that they 
had captured, and detained them until the de- 
liverance of John of Hapsburg, who thus owed 
them both his liberty and his life. Some time 
after they took up arms against Strasburg, against 
Soultz Rouffach, &c. In a word, they have played 
a very important part in the history of Alsace. 
They possessed many fiefs there, the ruins of 
which may be yet seen amongst our mountains. 

From the very foundation of the order of St. 
John of Jerusalem, knights of the house of De 
Waldner were to be found in its ranks, and one 
of them, Christopher de Waldner, was killed at 
Rhodes, in 1523, after performing prodigies of 
valour in defending this city against Solyman. A 
short time previous John de Waldner had been 
chancellor of the empire at the Diet of Worms, 
in 1497. 

My mother, as I have said, was a Berekheim of 
the branch of Eib^cauville. She had two brothers, 
of whom the younger, a commanding officer in 
the Royal Deux-Ponts regiment, and married to a 
Eathsamhausen d'Ehenweger, was my godfather ; 
he was to me indeed a second father. The other, 



16 MEMOIRS OF 

six years older, and who was called Bereklieim de 
Loen^ach, was counsellor of the regency at Baden. 
He married a Glaubitz, a name of which the origin 
is rather curious. 

The Glaubitz, ancient barons of Silesia, emigrated 
to Poland, from whence one of the family trans- 
planted himself to the banks of the Rhine. This 
family is descended from an ancient knight, a 
member of the second Crusade. He fought, in 
sight of the two armies, a Saracen renowned for 
strength and courage, and conquered him amidst 
the applauding shouts of Christian and infidel. 
Plunging his sword into the bosom of his con- 
quered enemy, he exclaimed : " Glaub jtz,'' or 
"jetz"' — Believe now. 

Maria Octavia Louisa de Glaubitz, sister of my 
aunt, married a Berekheim of the elder branch, 
which united still more closely the house of Berek- 
heim, a family in which goodness is a patrimonial 
inheritance. They are adored by their vassals, and 
their estates, particularly that of Schoppenwyr, 
between Colmar and Schelstadt, where they usually 
reside, are, as the tenants and peasantry say, like 
the earthly paradise. 

I may perhaps have lingered a little too long 
over these accounts of my family, but I do not 
regret it. In the first place I wished it to be dis- 
tinctly known from what race I have sprung; I 
feel it to be a conscientious obligation, and besides 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 17 

I find a pleasure in relating these particulars. I 
have the weakness, if it be one, to esteem what the 
heroes of the present day call trifles, and I ask, in 
my future son-in-law, if Providence should send 
me one in the midst of the chaos which surrounds 
us, and which seems about to swallow up all social 
order ; I ask, I say, in my son-in-law, only high 
birth ; there is a remedy for every defect but the 
want of that. 

Apologising for this digression, to which I would 
put an end were I not obliged, before entering 
further into the history of my life, to relate the 
origin of my intimacy with the illustrious family of 
Montbeliard and Wurtemberg : living in the same 
neighbourhood was the primary cause. We were 
only nine leagues distant from their serene high- 
nesses, and as the de Waldners have always 
attended their court, my father conducted me 
thither. I was overwhelmed with kindness in my 
first visit ; the Princess Dorothea, now grand- 
duchess of Russia, honoured me with her affection, 
and her illustrious mother, H.R.H. Madame la 
duchesse de Wurtemberg, princess de Montbeliard, 
testified for me an almost maternal kindness and 
affection. 

Montbeliard is the capital of a comte formerly 
attached to the German empire, but not belonging 
to any particular circle. Situated between the 

VOL. I. C 



18 MEMOIRS OF 

principality of Porentrug, which belongs to the 
bishopric of Basle, Soudyan, Lorraine, and Franche 
Comte, it still preserves its independence. The 
state is composed of the comte of Montbeliard, 
properly so called, and of seven or nine lordships. 
The male line of the first reigning house expired 
1394. The heiress married Eberhardt, comit of 
Wurtemberg, and gave him as a marriage jDortion 
the comte de Montbeliard ; the Wurtemberg family 
received the title of duke a hundred years after. 
Montbeliard was long the appanage of the younger 
branches, which became gradually extinct, and the 
comte returned to Wurtemberg-Stuttgard, the elder 
and reigning branch, who were also dukes of 
Wurtemberg-Montbeliard, and, by abbreviation, 
dukes de Montbeliard. I do not know how the 
custom of ^\Titing Wurtemberg has been intro- 
duced — it is not the ancient orthogTaph}^ 

In the beginning of this century, in 1723, the 
Prince Leopold Eberhardt not having left heirs 
capable of succeeding, the reigning duke of Wur- 
temberg-Stuttgard, Eberhardt Louis, received the 
investiture of the comte from the Emperor Leo- 
pold. Tliis prince fixed his abode there, but 
neither his cousin, Charles Alexander, who suc- 
ceeded him in 1733, nor any prince of the family, 
has followed an example so advantageous to the 
principality. 



THE BAROXESS d'OBERKIECH. 19 

But in 1769 the Duke Frederick Eugene de 
Wurtemberg, third son of the Duke Charles Alex- 
ander, and father of the reigning Duke Charles 
Eugene, took up his abode at Montbeliard with 
his family. He had married nineteen years pre- 
viously, being then only general officer in the 
Prussian service. He had several children in his 
marriagfe with the Princess Frederica Dorothea 
Sophia, daughter of the Margrave de Brandenburg- 
Schwadt, niece to the great Frederick. 

The residence of this family was a blessing fi'om 
Heaven for this hitherto-abandoned little country. 
The inexhaustible benevolence of these princes, 
their solicitude for their subjects, who had been 
long accustomed to misery, soon spread abundance 
and richness around them. This comte, which had 
during seven centuries and a half preserved its in- 
dependence, soon took the position that its import- 
ance merited. The princes assumed the title of 
serene highness, by permission of the Emperor 
Leopold the First ; they had previously been named 
simply your Grace. The inhabitants, who were 
all Protestants, adored the august family to whom 
they owed all their happiness. It was imder these 
auspices, and in these circumstances, that I was 
presented for the first time at their court. 



C2 



20 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER II. 

The Baron Waldner at Paris — Presentation at Versailles — 
The prince of Montbehard and his family — Description of 
his mother, princess of La Tour and Taxis — First visit 
— The castle of Montbeliard — Princess Dorothea of 
Wurtemburg — Mdlle. Schneider, my waiting-maid — 
Madame Hendel, femme-de- charge at Montbehard — 
Baron Maiicler — Birth of a prince — Erection of the 
chateau of Etupes — Visit of the reigning duke — Some 
account of this prince — Negotiation for his marriage — 
Extravagances ; the States remonstrate — The duke is 
affianced — Countess Hohenheim — Prince Louis Eusrene 
— Three brothers called Eugene, and why. 

My father visited Paris, lie was very well received 
at Court. He had the honour of being presented 
to His Majesty Louis XY„ on the 23rd of Sep- 
tember 1769, when, after having jDresented his 
credentials, he took his place in one of the carriages 
which accompanied the king to the chase ; he was 
also once invited to Croisy, which may be considered 
a very high distinction, the king receiving there 
only those whom he honoured with his intimacy. 
My father was unfitted both by disposition and 
moral principles to please a prince who unfor 
tunately for France was entirely devoted to his 
mistresses. Perhaps his deportment was too grave, 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 21 

or his serious conversation thought a check upon 
those joyous meetings ; however it was he was not 
invited again. He was promised that his brother 
the major should be made brigadier, a promise 
which was soon fulfilled, as my uncle was one of 
those promoted on the 3rd of January 1770. 
This uncle had been presented at Versailles the 
12th of March 1755, fourteen years before. The 
early death of my mother prevented her enjoying 
a like honour, and my grandmother sought happi- 
ness only in seclusion. Later, as we shall see, I 
enjoyed this prerogative myself, for which I was 
prepared by serving my court apprenticeship at 
Montbeliard, under princes not difficult to please, 
for nowhere, not even in the humblest cottage, did 
the domestic virtues ever shine with greater purity 
and lustre than in this royal abode. 

My father returned from Paris about the same 
time that Prince Frederick Eugene fixed his resi- 
dence at Montbeliard, and hastened, accompanied 
by Madame Wurmser, to pay his respects to his 
royal highness. The prince and his august spouse 
received him in the kindest and most honourable 
manner. The Baron Waldner, my grandfather, had 
rendered important services to the Duke Leopold 
Eberhardt during the disputes of the latter with the 
empire concerning the succession of the principality 
The life of this Duke Leopold Eberhardt (as I shall 



22 MEMOIRS OF 

relate in anotlier place) was filled with the most 
romantic adventures, in which love played only too 
important a part. In 1720 and 1723 he had 
requested M. de Waldner to supjDort his interests 
with the emperor and the regent of France ; but 
his cause, being either bad or difficult to sustain, 
failed, not"s\dthstandino' the zeal of mv oTandfather. 
My father's reception at the court of Frederick 
Euo-ene was as o-racious as if this neofotiation had 
succeeded. The comte of Montbeliard was re- 
stored to the reigning branch of Wurtemberg- 
Stuttgard. The jDages of these memoirs which mil 
relate to Duke Leopold Eberhardt will not be the 
least interesting amongst them. I will recount 
various anecdotes of this extraordinary man, for 
the authenticitv of which I can vouch, as Baron 
Waldner learned them at their source. He was a 
kind of Sardanapalus or Louis XIV., on a lesser 
scale ; he has left an immortal reputation in this 
countr}^, where such wild adventures as his were 
unknown, and where, if it please God, they will 
never be again enacted. 

My father had been colonel of the Wurtem- 
bergian regiment belonging to the Duke Louis 
Eugene, brother of the Prince Frederick Eugene, 
which regiment having been incorjDorated with the 
Royal German caused my father to join that of 
Bouillon. The prince spoke mth him for a long 



THE BAROXESS d'OBERKIECH. 23 

time concerning this affair, and treated him with. 
the greatest distinction. Her royal highness the 
duchess was not less gracious to him and to 
Madame Wurmser. 

" I know that you have a chaniiing daughter, 
M. de Waldner," said she ; '' you must bring her to 
us very soon, I would wish my children to be 
acquainted Avith her ; they could not have a better 
friend, and, for several reasons, I would wish them 
to make a great many ; in a few days I will expect 
you and the Countess Henrietta/' (I was called 
countess because I belonged to a Protestant Chap- 
ter of Germany, of which the Canonesses bore this 
title.) 

Such an invitation could not be declined ; my 
father came home delighted : he told me of my 
good fortune, which in truth it was for me. I was 
very happy at Schweighausen, but at fifteen one 
feels new desires ; I hoped to see the world and to 
meet companions of my own age, with whom I 
could often talk and sometimes laugh. I was tall ; 
they said I had a distinguished air ; my face was 
good-looking, notwithstanding my health, which 
had been always dehcate ; and, besides, the most 
sensible girl has a thousand ideas, a thousand vague 
desires, which bear her imagination beyond the 
walls of a castle. A young bird spreads its wings 
and seeks to fly — a young girl desires to see, to 



24 MEMOIRS OF 

know. I will say nothing of the pleasure I felt in 
a change of dress : my pinafores were put aside, I 
got long dresses ; and, perhaps because of my going 
to the court at Montb^liard, I was allowed to wear 
a hoop and court dress — think of my delight. 

The family into which I was to have the honour 
of being admitted consisted, in the first place, 
of the Duke Frederick Eugene de Wurtemberg, 
prince of Montbdliard, aged 37 years. He inherited 
some of the genius of his mother, the princess of 
La Tour and Taxis, whose powers of fascination were 
so generally recognised during her lifetime. The 
lively disposition of this princess, vivacious almost 
to petulance, and her strong passions, were a constant 
subject of conversation in the German courts. She 
was suspected of many weaknesses, whether justly 
or unjustly I cannot say ; all that I know is that 
she possessed the art of pleasing in an eminent 
degree, and was the most charming and the most 
captivating of women. Of this she could not be 
ignorant, as she heard it constantly ; but what 
influence it may have had on her is a secret between 
herself and God. 

The Prince Eugene had at first been destined by 
his father for the church, and had even received at 
eighteen the ecclesiastical tonsure at Constance. 
But he soon abandoned this career to enter the 
service of Frederick II. of Prussia, and served under 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 25 

his orders during the seven-years' war. He covered 
himself with glory : the hero took notice of him. The 
duchess, his mother, who did not allow any oppor- 
tunity to escape, profited of this occasion to negotiate 
at Berlin a marriage between this prince (who was 
her third son) and the princess Frederica Dorothea 
Sophia, daughter of the Margrave of Brandenburg- 
Schwadt, and niece of the king. As it ought to 
be, they fell in love on their first acquaintance : 
never was there a happier or more suitable union. 
The princess of Montbeliard was an accomplished 
woman, in whom virtue ennobled every grace. 

When I had the honour of being presented to 
them, the princess was thirty-three years of age. 
They had five sons and three daughters. The 
eldest, Prince Frederick William, born in Pome- 
rania, where his father's regiment was in garrison, 
was of the same age as I, that was fifteen. 

His brother, Prince Louis, was thirteen. Prince 
Eugene the Third was eleven. The fourth was 
Prince William who was eight, and the fifth Prince 
Ferdinand who was only six. 

Of the three daughters, the eldest was my dear 
Princess Dorothea who, though only ten, was 
almost as tall as I. She then gave promise of all 
for which she has been since distinguished — a 
charming disposition, an excellent heart, and the 
most extraordinary beauty. Although she was 



26 MEMOIRS OF 

short-sighted, her eyes were inagnii&cent, and their 
brilhancy seemed but the reflection of her soul. 

The Princess Frederica, her sister, was four ; she 
has been since married to the coadjutor of Lubeck, 
and died in 1789, at twenty years of age, as we 
shall see hereafter. 

The last of all was the Princess Elizabeth, who 
was but two; she became grand- duchess of Tus- 
cany in 1788. 

All these princes were reared in the Lutheran 
religion, in accordance with the wishes of the king 
of Prussia, although the prince of Montb^liard was 
a Catholic, and had quitted the Prussian service to 
become general of cavalry in the Suabian circle. 

On the day fixed for my first visit, I rose with 
the dawn. My impatience to set out was so great 
that I could not remain quietly in any one place 
after I had put on a dress of pink gros de Tour, 
brocaded with flowers in their natural colours, and 
trimmed with silvered ribbon. It was worn 
together with a petticoat of plain white Indian silk 
over a small hoop. In my hair I wore a rose and 
a small aigrette of pearls, which had belonged suc- 
cessively to my grandmother and to my mother. 
I have always attached a superstition to this 
jewel, believing it to be a kind of talisman which 
would confer happiness on the wearer ; and, there- 
fore, never failed to wear it on all important 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH 27 

occasions, counting amongst them my wedding 
day. On the way from Schweighausen to Mont- 
b^liard, I held myself as stiff as a soldier, lest I 
should derange my dress ; I was counselled not to 
forget my courtesies, not to speak except when 
spoken to, to be respectful to the young princesses, 
and reserved with the young princes. Until the 
very moment of our arrival I heard nothing but 
constant repetitions of etiquette and formalities, to 
which our royal hosts attached but little import- 
ance, but which it was our duty not to forget. At 
last we saw Montbeliard ! I will say a few words 
descriptive of the castle before relating my entrance 
into it, as I always wish to arrange my frame 
before placing my picture. 

The castle of Montbeliard dates no earlier than 
1751 ; it has replaced a large and strongly-built 
mansion-house somewhat resembling a citadel, 
situated on the side of a steep rock, from which it 
overlooked the city, and was rendered almost im- 
pregnable by its position. It was partly dis- 
mantled in 1677, by the order of Louis XIV. It 
was composed of two parts, separated by the 
church of St. Mainboeuf, which was situated in the 
same enclosure. The more ancient part was called 
the " Mid-chatel,'' or the Chatel derriere; the 
other, the Chatel-neuf, or Chatel-devant, on 
account of its position with respect to the church. 



28 MEMOIRS OF 

It is a tradition that it was formerly surrounded 
by cedars brought from the Holy Land by a count 
of Montb^liard in 1400. 

The baron of Gerniningen, governor of the 
principality, had the present edifice erected about 
the middle of the seventeenth century. The court- 
yard is delightfully shaded by linden and chestnut 
trees. The lofty and spacious apartments are, or 
rather were at that time, very simply furnished. 
The gay and gallant times of the Duke Eberhardt 
had passed away. The suite of then Royal High- 
nesses were sufficiently well lodged, comfortably, 
though without luxury. They sought to make all 
around them happy, and were universally and 
deservedly beloved. My heart, beat quick as our 
carriage entered the court-yard ; and as we as- 
cended a flight of steps where the chamberlain of 
the princess received us, my father whispered 
some words of encouragement : — " You will do very 
well, my daughter, do not be afraid.'' 

We entered, and saluted the duke and duchess. 
I was so timid that I could not see anything, but 
the voice of the duchess reassured me as it were by 
enchantment. She spoke to me in the most 
flattering and gracious manner ; and after per- 
mitting me to kiss her hand, she called the 
Princess Dorothea, and presented me to her herself 
-without the formality of an intermediate person. 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 29 

" My daughter/' said she to her, " this is a 
young lady that I would wish to be your friend. 
Be as good and as attentive to study as she, and 
endeavour to impress upon her the pleasure we all 
feel in receiving her, that she may often be in- 
duced to come again/' 

The young princess replied by unceremoniously 
throwing her arms round my neck, which em- 
barrassed my father very much, and made their 
highnesses laugh aloud. 

" This is not "Versailles, baron," said the prince, 
" and I have not the least objection that your 
daughter should embrace mine." 

From this day I was as much at home with this 
royal family as if I had lived with them all my 
life. She who was to ascend the throne of the 
Czars, she who was to be mistress of half Europe, 
treated me as a sister, as an equal. She lavished 
on me the tenderest affection and the most un- 
bounded confidence, and allowed me to enjoy 
all the sweet familiarities of a mutual affection. 
When we were preparing to take leave, the prince 
told my father that apartments had been prepared 
for us, and that we and Madame Wurmser should 
pass some days at the castle. I can assure you that 
I required no entreaties to remain. I had brought 
my waiting-maid, Mdlle. Schneider, with me. I 
have never parted with her. She has rocked my 



30 MEMOIRS OF 

cradle, tended my youth, and been a second self in 
my house since I possessed one of my own. She 
was at that time thirty-nine years of age. An ex- 
traordinary intimacy sprung up between her and 
Madame Hendel, femme-de-charge of the castle. 
What a strange person that Madame Hendel was ! 
What joyous peals of laughter she often caused to 
the young princesses and to me. We always called 
her Madame Pompadour, not that there existed 
any similarity between her and the lady of that 
name (or that w^e could have understood such an 
allusion if there did), but because of her pompous 
and majestic bearing. She usually wore a dress of 
stiflP violet silk, with red knots, the rustling of 
which was heard through all the corridors from 
the moment she left her room. She thought her- 
self the greatest lady in Europe after the princess ; 
and when speaking of herself always said, they 
have done so and so, they have been in such a 
place ; / appearing to her too vulgar and common- 
place for her rank. She was not aware that in this 
she imitated M. de Turenne, nor do I think she 
would feel flattered had she known it, a viscount 
being in her eyes a very humble person, were he 
even a Latour or a Bouillon. When the Princess 
Dorothea was married to the czarovitz, we thought 
she would have burst with pride. She was always 
raving of the power, of the vast dominions of her 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 31 

dear mistress. To be able to appreciate the word 
vast, one should have heard her pronounce it as 
she opened her mouth to its fullest vertical extent. 
The governor of the young princes was the baron 
de Maucler, a distinguished military officer of high 
birth, and who possessed a brilliant understanding. 
All the family idolized him, and looked upon him 
as a beloved friend. I was soon on the very best 
terms with this amiable pedagogue, as the prince 
de Montb^liard used laughingly to call him. His 
wife, the baroness Lefort, to whom he has been 
since married, was born in Geneva, and was de- 
scended from the companion of the Czar Peter the 
Great. The Princess Dorothea looked on that as 
a mark of predestination when her marriage with 
the czarovitz was first spoken of The truth is, 
she was constantly questioning M. de Maucler about 
Peter I. and Russia ; and in our confidential con- 
versations she always spoke of this country with a 
burning curiosity that was almost prophetic. Per- 
haps she foresaw her future destiny. 

Some years after, when the prince of Montbeli- 
ard sent his three eldest sons to Lausanne for the 
completion of their education, M. de Maucler ac- 
companied them. He watched over them with 
paternal solicitude, which they repaid with filial 
affection. We will often again have occasion to 
speak of him. From the year 1769 I became an 



32 MEMOIRS OF 

almost habitual inmate of the castle of Montb^- 
liard. I always lived there when my father was 
from home, and even sometimes remained there 
with him. The princess was enceinte, and rather 
delicate. She rarely went out, and I read to her 
in French or German : she always corrected me 
when I made a mistake in pronunciation, or when 
I uttered some ill-constructed phrase. During the 
months immediately preceding the birth of the 
young prince, she asked my father to allow me to 
remain with her to amuse her, as she said : she called 
me her reader, and taught me a wonderful tapestry 
stitch (le point de Troye), in which she embroi- 
dered fauteuils mth inimitable skill. 

The 3rd of May 1770 was a great festival at 
Montb^liard, H.RH. having given birth to a prince, 
who was called Charles Henry Frederic. This 
was her sixth son. The entire city was illu- 
minated, and the different guilds of citizens came 
one after the other to congratulate their sovereigns. 
I ate so great a quantity of sweetmeats that I was 
sick for two days, which greatly amused the Prin- 
cess Dorothea, who, though she had eaten more 
than I, and continued eating them a week after, 
escaped unhurt. Madame Hendel had six dozen 
boxes of them for her share, which she allowed to 
decay rather than waste one on the servants of the 
castle. 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 83 

In the course of the same year the prmce ex- 
ecuted a favourite project, that of building a sum- 
mer residence at Etupes, a pretty village two 
leagues from Montb^liard, on the road to Basle. It 
was finished at the end of November. Beloved 
castle of Etupes, what tender memories twine 
around you ! how deserted do you now appear to 
me without my dear princess I How delightful 
you were then, when your splendour was softened 
by refinement ! how delicious were your gardens ! 

The 20th of December 1770, Charles Eugene, 
the reigning duke of Wurtemberg, came to Etupes, 
with his brother : my father and I had the honour 
of accompanying them. The Prince Charles Eu- 
gene had a fine classical head. At the birth of this 
prince, in 1728, it was little thought that he would 
ascend the throne of Wurtemberg, and yet, in 1737, 
every obstacle being removed, he became, at nine 
years of age, head of the ducal house. Placed 
under the guardianship of his mother and of the 
dukes of Wurtemberg-Neustadt, and of Wurtem- 
berg-Oels, his nearest relations, the duke minor 
was conducted to the court of the great Frederick. 
The intelligence and capacity which he soon 
showed caused his minority to be abridged. At six- 
teen the Emperor Charles VII. invested him with 
the government of the duchies of Wurtemberg 
and of Montb^Hard. He assembled around him a 

VOL. I. D 



34! MEMOIRS OF 

brilliant court, whither the presence of his mother 
attracted all that could charm or delight. The 
treasures of the State soon became the prey of male 
and female favourites. Balls, concerts, shows, bril- 
liant hunts, employed all the time of this young 
prince, whose early youth had given promise of so 
much glory. Intoxicated by youth and power, 
surrounded by seductions of every kind, he flirted 
with every woman, adored several, and loved 
one, who afterwards became his Egeria, and was 
the means of recalling him to nobler pursuits. 
This court of Stuttgard became the principal one 
of Germany ; its luxury was alarming, and the 
duke lavished his millions without restraint. The 
consequence was that the different states of the 
duchy remonstrated with the duke, which had the 
effect of checking these excesses for a time, but 
could not entirely repress them. The prince was 
offended by this interference, which he considered 
disrespectful, and determined to continue his for- 
mer career. It was then that the lady of whom I 
have spoken showed him his danger — his errors. 
She represented to him what he was, what he 
might have been ; she painted what would be the 
terrible consequence of his extravagance ; she 
threatened to abandon him if he neglected her 
warning, and at length led him to acknowledge his 
errors, and to resolve to repair them. At the time 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 35 

that I saw him at Etupes and Montbdliard he was 
forty-two years of age, and still one of the finest 
men in Europe. Experience had matured his un- 
derstanding ; he had become reconciled with the 
states, and had no higher ambition than to regain 
the affection of his subjects, to encourage agricul- 
ture, and to assist the development of other sources 
of national wealth. He was married to a princess 
of Brandenburg-Bareith, daughter of Erederica 
Sophia of Prussia, eldest sister of the great Frede- 
rick. He had no children, and would, in conse- 
quence, be succeeded by his next brother. Prince 
Louis Eugene. Charles Eugene's marriage had 
been negotiated by his mother, the charming prin- 
cess of La Tour and Taxis, of whom I have already 
spoken. She had arranged it immediately after the 
arrival of her son at Berlin, and it was decided that 
the affianced princes should themselves retain the 
power of annulling or fulfilling the contract. They 
were satisfied with the arrangements that had been 
made for them, though feeling for each other no 
warmer sentiment than that of friendship. The 
affections of the duke belonged to another. If any 
excuse could be found for this conduct, it would be 
in the extraordinary merit of the lady. Her beauty 
was her least charm, and she loved the duke with 
an unparalleled disinterestedness and devotion. We 
will again have occasion to speak of this countess 

d2 



86 MEMOIRS OF 

Hohenlieim (this washer name), when we will find 
her connection with the prince legitimatized by 
marriage. 

The Prince Louis Eugene, his brother s heir ap- 
parent, is lieutenant-general in the French ser\ace, 
and has distinguished himself at the head of the 
troops of Louis XV. against Maria Theresa. He 
generally resides at Paris.* 

The three brothers, as we have seen, bear the 
name of Eugene, in accordance with the wishes of 
their father, who had a great admiration for. the 
celebrated Prince Eugene of Savoy ; however, the 
youngest brother only was called Eagene.-f- They 
were Catholics, their father having embraced that 
religion, but did not in consequence make any 
alteration in the constitution of the duchy, which 
had been, and still remains, Protestant. I feel 
great admiration for this forbearance : liberty of 

* He is an amiable prince, but unfortunately perpe- 
trates puns and " jeu de mots," which are, as M. de Vol- 
taire says, " L'esprit de ceux qui n'en ont pas." He writes 
yerses tolerably, and reads them extremely well. 

t The Duke Frederick Eugene has also reigned under 
the name of Frederick I,, from 1797 to 1799, but the 
comte of Montbeliard was reunited to France in 1792 as 
part of the department of Doubs. The Duke Frederick 
Eugene is father of the first king of Wurtemberg, and 
head of the reigning branch. He reigned from 1793 to 
1798, and left two daughters, both married to princes of 
WaUenstein, and a natural son, the count of Sondheim. 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 37 

conscience cannot be attacked with impunity. 
Louis XIY. himself has dimmed the lustre of his 
glory by repealing the edict of Nantes. Of all 
women of infamous celebrity, I feel the gTeatest 
antipathy to Madame Maintenon, notwithstanding 
the marriage which cast a veil over her errors. 
She has called down on the old Lion the maledic- 
tions of an entire people ; she has distracted 
France with intestine wars, and has caused its 
wealth and industry to seek refuge amongst 
foreigners. 

Honour, on the contrary, to the good and vir- 
tuous monarch, who, by the edict of '87, granted 
to Protestants equal rights with other citizens, and 
acknowledged the validity of those acts by which 
they became husbands and heads of families. May 
their gratitude to the king make them loyal, de- 
voted, and faithful subjects ! 



38 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER III. 

The dauphiness at Strasburg — Etiquette observed to- 
wards foreign princes — Entree of Marie Antoinette — 
Rejoicings and ^presentations — Description of the 
dauphiness — Pavilion in the Isle du Rhin — Disagree- 
able prognostic — Happy saying of the dauphiness — 
Rejoicings at Montbeliard — The baron and baroness 
Boreck — Countess Wartensleben — BUnd-nian''s Buff — 
Audience of the prince ; grievances — Princess Dorothea 
of Wurtemberg — Her affection for me — Her mother's 
confidence in me — Soubriquets — Milord Carcasso — 
Origin of ' Lane ' — Birth of a prince — Gardens at Etupes 
— M. Tronchin — Antiquities of Mondau — The hermit — 
The page — Surprise — Government of Montbeliard — 
Theatrical representations at Etupes — M. de Beroldingen 
— The prince of Murbach — ^Viscount Bombelles — Mar- 
riage of a Cathohc and Protestant null — Duchess 
Mazarin — Discussions — M. de Wittgenstein — Baron 
Reinbach — General Strahlenheim — Baron Obenheim — 
General Wangen — Order of military merit — Jews — 
Ollwillon — Count Waldner, first grand cross — Birth of 
Prince Frederic — Bull of Clement XIV. — Death of 
Louis XV. — Foufs au seiitiment — ^IVIargrave of Bareith 
and Mdlle. Clairon — Accidental death of duke de Deux- 
Ponts — Duel of Baron Pirch. 

Before speaking further of this visit of the reign- 
ing duke of Wiirtemburg to Montbeliard, I must 
relate a very interesting event which took place in 
the same year, and which I had forgotten to 
mention in its proper place. The dauphiness, 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 39 

now queen of France, passed through Strasburg, 
where I went with my father to pay her our re- 
spects. Oh ! if I lived a hundred years I could 
not forget that day, its festivities, those exclama- 
tions of joy uttered by a people delighted by the 
presence of their sovereign. Madame Wurmser 
accompanied us. The delicate health of the prin- 
cess of Montb^liard prevented their highnesses 
undertaking the journey, and besides the etiquette 
of the French court is so severe and unbending 
towards foreign princes, that these naturally stay 
away except when absolutely obliged to appear. 
Their rank is not recognised, they can only see the 
king and queen in their cabinets, and even when 
their majesties invite them to dine, they cannot 
have the honour of touching their hands ; where- 
fore all those who have visited Versailles have 
assumed a fictitious name, not wishing, with their 
proper titles, to be mingled indiscriminately with 
the crowd of courtiers, as would certainly be the 
case. Besides, in appearing incognito, they retain 
their right to private receptions, where their rank 
is not disputed. There was no exception made 
even in favour of the relations of the queen (of 
course I do not include the emperor ; he is en- 
tirely out of the question) : however that may be, 
the court of Montb^liard, wishing to avoid these 
inconveniences, sent their apologies. 



40 MEMOIRS OF 

The entree of the princess was magnificent. 
Three troops of children from twelve to fifteen 
years of age, were dressed a la Suisse, and sta- 
tioned along the path of her royal highness, 
v/hilst eighteen shepherds and as many shepherd- 
esses of the same age, presented her with baskets 
of flowers. Nothing could be more picturesque. 
Twenty-four girls (from fifteen to twenty), daugh- 
ters of the most resj)ectable citizens, magnificently 
dressed according to the different German fashions, 
strewed flowers before the princess, who received 
them as graciously as Flora herself The trooj)s of 
little Swiss got permission to mount guard at the 
bishop's court during the stay of the daujDhiness. 
The programme of these rejoicings was exactly 
copied from those of the journey of Louis XV., 
before his illness, at Metz, the devices being of 
course altered to suit the occasion. Some persons 
who were present at the fireworks gave me so lively 
a description of them, that I feel as if I had seen 
them myself What could equal those mythologi- 
cal figures ? those horses, chariots ? those sea-gods, 
arms, and flaming shields, placed in the centre 
of the river Ille, whose flowing waters reflected, 
as from a thousand mirrors, the brilliant emblems 
jolaced upon its surface ? It was like the end of 
the world ; all idea of time or place was lost. Nor 
were more substantial enjoyments forgotten; oxen 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 41 

were roasted whole, wine flowed in abundance, and 
so great was the quantity of bread, that the poorest 
persons would allow it to remain untouched upon 
the ground. 

In the evening the entire city was illuminated, 
the cathedral was one blaze of light from cross to 
foundation ; every ornament of the building shone 
like a collection of stars. The different trades 
. displayed their strength and address in various 
games, for which the dauphiness distributed the 
prizes, accompanying each with some of those 
flattering words, whose talismanic influence she has 
often exercised on the throne of France. 

I had the honour of being presented with several 
other young ladies of quality. She received us 
with the most captivating simplicity and grace, 
asked our names, spoke graciously to each, and, 
before our departure, had distributed amongst us 
the superb bouquets which had been sent her by 
the Chambers de Treize and Quinze, of Suat, and 
the other authorities of the city. I preserved the 
most beautiful flower of mine in an herbarium as a 
souvenir, and gave it afterwards to the Princess 
Dorothea. 

The dauphiness was at this time tall and well 
made, though rather thin. She has changed very 
little since ; her face is still the same, long and 
regular, with its aquiline nose, high forehead, and 



42 MEMOIRS OF 

lively blue eyes. Her mouth, which was very 
small, had even then a slight expression of disdain. 
She possessed the Austrian lip in a higher degTee 
than any member of her illustrious house. It 
would be impossible to describe the brilliancy of 
her complexion ; it was literally the mingling of 
the lily and the rose, and her hair was a light 
chestnut, in which she wore very little powder. 
The dignity of her bearing, the majesty of her 
figure, and the elegance and grace of every move- 
ment, were as remarkable then as now. In short, 
everything in her bespoke a high descent, a noble 
and generous heart, qualities which gained the 
aflfections of all around her. 

A pavilion in three divisions had been erected on 
the Isle du Rhin to receive the archduchess. I 
know not who it was that had the bad taste to 
ornament it with tapestries representing the mas- 
sacres and domestic quarrels of Jason and Medea. 
The princess and her attendants immediately 
observed it. " Ah,'' said the young dauphiness to 
her German waiting-maid, " what an omen \" 

Her attendants were sent back, as is the custom ; 
she wept a great deal at parting from them, and 
gave them an infinity of messages for the empress, 
for the archduchess, her sisters, and for her friends 
at Vienna. She was then attired in the French 
fashion, in magnificent dresses sent from Paris. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 43 

She looked a thousand times more charming in her 
change of costume. Apartments were prepared for 
her in the Episcopal palace, where the old cardinal 
de Rohan had the honour of receiving her. When 
she alighted the good citizens thought it their duty 
to address her in a long speech in German, but she 
interrupted them with astonishing presence of mind, 
saying — 

" Don't speak German, gentlemen ; from this day 
I know no language but French.'' 

The expression with which she spoke these words 
made them still more touching ; everybody was 
impressed then. Alas ! their influence is now no 
longer felt. 

The dauphiness is daughter of Francis Stephen, 
duke of Lorraine and Bar, who died in 1765, and 
of the celebrated Maria Teresa, archduchess of 
Austria, queen of Hungary and Bohemia, on the 
throne since the 29th October 1780. 

M. Durfort asked her in marriage for the dauphin 
the 16th of April 1770. The 17th she solemnly 
renounced all her hereditary claims, paternal as well 
as maternal. On the 19th the marriage ceremony 
was performed in the Augustinian convent, the 
archduke Ferdinand representing the dauphin (who 
became king four years after in 1774). Marie 
Antoinette left Vienna on the 21st, at a quarter to 
nine in the morning, and arrived at Strasburg on 



44 MEMOIRS OP 

the 7th of May. His eminence cardinal Rohan, 
prince bishop of Strasburg, received her in his 
palace of Saverne ; a palace afterwards the resi- 
dence of Prince Louis, the unworthy nephew and 
successor of this venerable prelate, for whom his 
follies, together with the unfortunate affak of the 
necklace, have gained so undesirable a celebrity. 

The 14th of May the king met the archduchess 
in the forest of Compiegne, and on the 15th she 
was married in the chapel of the castle. I will 
often have occasion to speak of this noble princess, 
whom I had frequently the honour of approaching, 
and whose croodness I can never forg-et. 

After my journey to Strasburg we returned to 
Montb^liard, where we passed all the summer, with 
the exception of a few excursions to Schweighausen, 
which I contrived to shorten as much as possible. 
In November I went again to the city, but returned 
to Montb^liard in December to be present at the 
celebration of the birthday of the princess. On the 
evening of this happy day, Charles the reigning duke 
of Wurtemberg arrived ; he was not expected. We 
had played a thousand games with the permission 
of their royal highnesses. We were about com- 
mencing " Blindj-7)ian s Buff" in which the entire 
court was to take part, with the exception of the 
baron and baroness of Boreck, the two most singidar 
persons that I met during my youth. They were a 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 45 

living representation of Philemon and Baucis, loving 
each, other extremely ; they never hesitated to 
express their affection as freely before the princes 
as if they were alone, calling each other " my love " 
and " my heart,'' and even as Prince Frederick told 
me (I never heard this), " my duck " and " my pet/' 
On this evening they played backgammon with the 
baron de Wurmser, grand huntsman, and baron 
Sch wager, bishop in partibus, high almoner to the 
Duke Frederick Eugene. These primitive people 
were often opposed as partners in the game, and 
then always made signs to each other without the 
slightest idea of doing anything dishonest. We 
annoyed them very much by our laughter, and by 
grotesque shadows which we contrived to cast upon 
the wall. In the midst of all this confusion, an 
ojSficer all bewildered bursts suddenly into the room 
and announces his royal highness. You may 
easily believe that the masqueraders quickly laid 
aside their humps, horns, masks, &c. The duke 
delighted in surprises, and always came unex- 
pectedly. The countess of Wartensleben, who was 
sitting next to me, was employing all her ingenuity 
to free me from the di'sguise in which I was to have 
represented the devil, but the strings seemed deter- 
mined not to untie ; the Princess Dorothea laughed 
excessively at my embarrassment ; I was very angry. 
At last we had the good fortune to accomplish our 



46 MEMOIRS OF 

task before the duke observed us. The countess of 
Wartensleben, nee de Linas, was a very charming 
woman, beautiful, witty, and refined ; the princess 
loved her very much, and frequently invited her to 
Montbeliard. 

The arrival of the reigning duke was an excuse 
for fetes as splendid as the limited resources of this 
retired country would allow. Standards, bearing 
the arms of Wurtemberg, quartered with those of 
Montbeliard, floated from every eminence. The 
Montbeliard quarterings are, a field azure, two 
fishes or embowed. These fishes must not be con- 
founded with dolphins. 

Every lamp, torch, and candle in the town was 
lighted. The Baron de Boreck, who had some pre- 
tensions as a punster, said that these were indeed 
enlightened rejoicings ; at which witticism, his 
chaste better half, laughed immoderately. All who 
could display a silken dress or coat of barbacan 
came in procession to pay their resjDects to his 
royal highness. The thi'ee divisions of the ma- 
gistracy presented wdth great ceremony a list of 
grievances, which the duke received graciously, and 
promised to consider. 

In the evening he said to the prince of Mont- 
beliard, " I am very much changed, and I am very 
glad of it ; long ago I would have laughed at these 
good people who seem more ridiculous to me than 



THE BARONESS D'oBERKIRCH. 47 

your children did the other day at ' Blind-mans 
Buff,' but to-day I was as grave as the honest folk 
themselves. Besides, they are in the right, and I 
must attend to their demands/' 

The public audience lasted from nine in the 
morning until seven in the evening. His high- 
ness heard all with patience, and none were refused 
but those who asked for something absurd. I 
remember one poor peasant woman, who requested 
that the bells would not be allowed to toll, as it 
caused her cream to turn sour. 

On the day of his departure, the reigning duke 
again received the magistracy, to whom he was 
still more gracious than on the former occasion. 
He had reflected, his discourse was touching, per- 
suasive, and paternal. All were affected even to 
tears, and we, young creatures that we were, wept 
with the others without knowing why. At noon, 
he departed in his carriage for Stuttgard, and his 
possessions beyond the Rhine. The cavalry of the 
town escorted him to the frontiers of the comtd of 
Montb^liard. All were delighted with him, espe- 
cially the Princess Dorothea, to whom he had pre- 
sented a very handsome ring. The kindness of 
this dear princess for me neither time or distance 
has been able to change. I loved her passionately, 
as indeed did every person who knew her, and 
nobody ever merited affection more than she. She 



48 MEMOIRS OF 

was unaffected, witty, without the least pretension, 
free from all coquetry, and, above all, gifted with 
the gentlest disposition. She made no secret of 
her affection for me, and always called me Artiie, 
no matter who may be present. When I was 
absent, she wrote to me constantly begging me to 
return ; she could not exist without me, nor, 
indeed, I without her ; if I may be allowed so to 
express myself, considering the high respect I bear 
her. The princess, her mother, had the greatest 
confidence in me. She wished me to be constantly 
with her daughter ; and notwithstanding the dif- 
ference of our ages, our amusements were in com- 
mon. " My dear Lanele,'' said she to me, " you 
are sensible, and studious, and I would be very 
glad to give you as a model to my daughter ; she 
loves you so much that she will feel pleasure in 
imitating you." 

I have before told, that I was canoness of a 
Protestant chapter, which had the same claims to 
nobility and the same customs as Catholic chap- 
ters. I was, therefore, called the Countess Hen- 
riette de Waldner. Why I was called Lane, or 
Lanele, I ^vill now tell. Indeed, giving soubriquets 
was a custom at Montbeliard, which displeased 
Madame Boreck, who said truly, that it was very 
ill-bred. Our only gratitude for her advice was, to 
bestow a name upon herself We called her my 



' THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 49 

Lady Carcasso, for which may God forgive us! 
She was frightfully thin, and was constantly telling 
us of an Englishman that she had known when 
she was young, whom she called Milord Carcasso. 
It could not have been his name, or anything like 
it. No Englishman, no Christian, could have such 
a name as Carcasso. 

My surname of Lane, or Lanele, arose from a 
disguise that I wore during the carnival. I was 
dressed as a Catalane, and they were kind enough 
to say that I performed my part very well. For 
several days everybody called me Catalane. The 
youngest of the little princes, who was only begin- 
ning to speak, could not pronounce the entire 
word ; and, therefore, contented himself with the 
termination, and having great affection for me, he 
was constantly calling Lane ! Lane I The Princess 
Dorothea changed it into Lanele, and thus I was 
baptized for the remainder of my life in the house 
of Montbeliard. 

From all this it may be perceived that I passed 
a great part of my time at Montbeliard ; it was 
become a second home for me, and I was loved 
and looked upon as a child of the house. I was 
still there on 24th of April 1771, when the prin- 
cess's seventh son was born (he was called Alex 
ander Frederick Charles*). The union of the 

* Prince Alexander, married to the Princess Antoinette 
VOL. I. E 



50 MEMOIRS OF 

princes of Moiitbeliarcl was certainly blessed by 
heaven, and notwithstanding the number of their 
children, each additional one was received with as 
much joy as if it had been the first-born. All the 
principality, both poor and rich, shared in the 
happiness of their rulers. H.S.H. celebrated this 
happy event by opening the theatre at Etupes, to 
our great delight. 

We were permitted to establish ourselves at 
Etupes, with Madame Boreck and several other grave 
ladies of the court, until the perfect recovery of the 
princess, wlien our amusements were to commence. 
We preferred the chateau of Etuj^es and its deli- 
cious gardens to any residence in the world. One 
might enjoy there the same ease and freedom as 
in the house of a rich private person who would 
wish to see all around him gay and happy. How 
well I remember those gardens, which are even 
more beautiful now than they were then, the trees 
being higher, and the buildings having lost that 
extreme whiteness which shocks the eye, according 
to M. Tronchin, of Geneva, who is considered an 
authority on these matters. The arrangements 
are perfect ; the orangery is considered one of the 
most beautiful in Germany. But one of its gTeatest 



of Saxe Coburg, was father of the Duke Alexander of 
Wurtemberg born in 1804, married 1837 to the Princess 
Mary of Orleans, who died in 1839. 



THE BAROXESS D'OBERKIRCH. 51 

charms is a small temple (a happy idea of the 
princess) formed of rose-trees : the most delicious 
place in the world for reading or conversation. 

The dairy is built a la Suisse, ornamented with 
su23erb vases of fa^enza, a kind of ware made in 
the sixteenth century, which, though coarsely 
painted, is very much prized by connoisseurs for its 
correct drawing and beautiful designs. I would 
much prefer the pretty Saxon porcelain to these 
old earthen vases, but it appears that these latter 
are rarer. The grottoes are encrusted with very 
curious stalactites, which sparkle like diamonds 
when these |)laces are illuminated. There are 
several of these grottoes on artificial islands, in the 
river, which are connected by Chinese bridges. 

In the park is a triumphal arch, erected in 
honour of Frederick the Great, supported by 
Corinthian pillars, of which the bases and capitals 
were brought from the ruins of Mondau, formerly 
Epomandarum, a village in the comt^ of Mont- 
b^liard, to the south of the town. 

During the eight days immediately preceding 
the commencement of our theatrical amusements, 
we (to use the biblical language of M. de Boreck) 
tabernacled in the soi-disant hut of a wood-burner, 
isolated in the midst of a forest. Its exterior 
corresponded exactly with its designation, but 
within, thanks to the princess it was the per- 

E 2 



52 MEMOIRS OF 

fection of refinement. The furniture, simple and 
elegant, had been ordered from Paris, and though 
destined for a rustic dwelling, gave undoubted 
proofs of the good taste which had directed its 
selection. The Princess Dorothea was so delighted 
with this romantic cottage, that she declared we 
should sleep there if it were only for one night. 
When Madame Hendel heard of this arrangement, 
she hooted like an owl, declaring that it would be 
an eternal disgrace to the reigning house. How- 
ever, she was obliged to submit ; but for many 
years after, when her young mistress had become 
grand-duchess of Russia, she would point with a 
tragic air to the cottage, saying, — " To think that 
the future empress of all the Moscovies had slept 
there I" Besides our favoured hut, we had many 
other amusements to wile away the time. There 
was a temple dedicated to Flora, whose statue we 
used to crown with garlands of wild-flowers. We 
made bowling-greens of the grass plots (to the 
horror of the gardeners), and many long and happy 
hours we spent in the aviaries, listening to the 
warbling of the birds, and feeding them with 
bread, cake, and fresh herbs. We taught parrots 
to speak ; and what ridiculous things the young 
princes used to make them repeat ! 

Afterwards, when the family were dispersed, a 
column was erected in a retired and shady part of 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 53 

the grounds, and dedicated to " The Absent," 
whose initials were engraved upon it. How often 
the princess of Montb^liard and I have stood before 
this monument of affection, speaking with tears of 
her who was never to return ! It is a painful con- 
dition annexed to the high position of princes, 
that their natural sentiments and affections must 
often yield to political reasons. The Princess 
Dorothea would have been too happy if she could 
have remained near her mother. She was forced to 
purchase one blessing by the sacrifice of another ; 
and often amidst the pomp of St. Petersburg she 
resetted the retired home where she had been so 
much beloved. She has often done me the honour 
of saying to me, that if she had the power of 
choosing between her splendid destiny and the 
happiness of living obscurely at Etupes with her 
husband and parents, she would not hesitate for a 
moment ; so little influence had ambition over her 
mind. 

The day after our arrival at Etupes, as we were 
looking at the milking of the cows, a page came to 
tell the Princess Dorothea that a hermit who had 
lately come to live at the hermitage begged that 
she would do him the honour of paying him a 
visit. \ 

" Immediately ?" said she. 

^' Immediately, if your highness wisL 



3ii. 



54 MEMOIRS OF 

"He is waiting for me ; and what shall I do 
Avith my cream ?" 

" If your highness could eat it as you walk 
along ?" 

" Or rather carry it to the hermit. Come, Lanele, 
it is some trick of my brothers, but I will let them 
see that I can repay them/' 

The bell of the hermitage (which was situated 
on a rising ground, and which was a gTeat addition 
to the beauty of the scenery) tolled without ceasing. 
The page, count of AVartensleben (son of the 
countess of Wartensleben, of whom I have already 
spoken, and captain in Anhalt), walked before us 
very gravely, and replied to the questions of the 
princess only ^vith " Her highness shall see," which 
annoyed us very much. We arrived at last, ex- 
pecting to find there a troop of waggish young 
jDrinces, but with what astonishment and respect 
we drew back when we saw before us the Duke 
Charles, who always found such pleasure in taking 
us by surprise. He was now come to inquire into 
the affairs of the province, and remained with us 
until the following August. Amongst other things 
with which he had occuj^ied himself during this 
time, was a law which he framed concernino' agfri- 
culture, for which he was blessed by the entire 
population. This little state mil be sure to have 
a well-ordered government now that H.S.H. has 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 55 

turned his attention to the consideration of public 
affairs. The most important personage of the ma- 
gistracy is the bailhe, next the chancellor, then 
follow the councillors or members of the regency, 
whose number is unlimited, and last of all the 
procureur-general. The councillors formerly wore 
robes half yellow and half black, which were the 
colours of the house of Wurtemberg. All these 
lesser wheels of the government worked admirably 
under the immediate authority of the reigning 
duke. (It was afterwards that he appointed his 
brother stadtholder.) These gradations of autho- 
rity commencing with the people, and ending with 
the ruler, seems to me perfectly well organized. 
What more could one wish for ? 

All this time I have said nothing of our little 
comedy. I must now return to it. The duke was 
very amiable in his hermitage, and wishing to play 
his part to the end, he offered to tell our for- 
tunes. 

" You, my niece, will be married to an old 
elector, one-eyed and lame, who will not allow you 
to receive any visitors, and your entire court will 
be composed of apes, that your husband may 
appear handsome by contrast. You, Countess 
Henrietta, will remain a canoness, or you may be 
married to the prime minister of the elector, who 
will be withered and toothless, and who will go 



56 MEMOIRS OF 

rabbit-hunting in a wheelbarrow, with you knitting 
beside him/' 

" Can your reverence see anything else ?" asked 
the princess, laughing. 

" I see a very brilliant star, which, I think, is 
yours, but it is a falling star, your friend's shines 
beneath. Really there never was seen so great an 
attraction between stars." 

" Oh ! that is because I love Lanele so well,'' 
said this adorable 23rincess, embracing me. The 
duke remained with us all the evening, and came 
to see us almost every day, until the opening of 
our theatre. The dancers were sent from Vienna. 
The j^iece chosen was the ballet of Medea, com- 
posed some years before by M. Noverre. This 
ballet had been originally performed at the court 
of Stuttgard by the celebrated Yestris, so that the 
duke knew it and admired it exceedingly. He 
regretted YestrLs very much, for the dancers from 
Yienna were far inferior to this celebrated artis-te. 
To us, ignorant peasants of Alsace, they were 
magnificent. No performance ever amused me so 
much ; the remembrance of it can never be effaced 
from my mind ; first impressions are so vivid.^ 

I still remember the dress I wore ; it was a 
beautiful quesaco. Madame de Boreck said that I 
emanated from the spirit of my dress. 

" You think that the dress of the Countess 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 57 

Henrietta has a spirit, madam, and that she has a 
separate existence besides ; that is very fortunate, 
for I know a great many persons whose only exist- 
ence is in their dress/' 

The person who said this was M. de Beroldengen, 
dean of the chapter of Murbach, who was a man 
of refined wit, and somewhat inclined to epicurism, 
which latter quality he contrived to render unno- 
ticed by his witty conversation. He often came to 
Montbeliard with the prince of Rathsamhausen, 
abbe of the united chapters of Murbach and Lure. 
This latter died in '86, in the odour of sanctity. 
He was good and tolerant, as became a true mi- 
nister of God, to whatever communion he may 
belong. I remember once that the baron de 
Wurmser related before him the sad tale of M. de 
Bombelles, and that he reproved him with mildness 
and firmness. As I am not a saint, I may tell this 
story, of which the authenticity is much disputed. 
I have learned many of the details of this affair 
during my visits to Paris, where I was very inti- 
mate with the Bombelles family, who most certainly 
were calumniated on this occasion. People will 
give a decided judgment, though it is almost im- 
possible to know all the oninor circumstances of 
any case, which, however trifling they may be in 
themselves, would, if known, justify what other- 
wise seems unjustifiable. 



58 MEMOIRS OF 

The public papers tell that an officer of the 
Piedmont regiment, the viscomit of Bombelles, had 
married some years before, somewhere in the in- 
terior, a Protestant young lady. The marriage 
ceremony was performed in both churches, and the 
lady and gentleman lived together for some time, 
when the gentleman unexpectedly marries another, 
saying that his first marriage was not binding, in 
consequence of the laws passed against the Pro- 
testants. 

If this be really the fact (I merely relate it to 
show that I was not ignorant of what was taking 
place around me), there may be some powerful 
reasons of which the public are ignorant, that 
would explain and perhaps excuse this extraordi- 
nary affair. Circumsta^nces are sometimes stronger 
than our inclinations. I neither approve nor blame ; 
my conscience and my position could not permit 
me to do either. It is said, however (to be im- 
partial one must tell everything), that the council 
of the military school where M. de Bombelles has 
been educated, have been greatly annoyed by these 
reports, and that they have written to him in the 
name of the school, expressing their sorrow and 
indignation for such conduct, feeling that the dis- 
grace attending it would in some measure fall upon 
them, and requesting that, if public report were 
correct, that he would not again present himself 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 59 

amono'st tLem, I cannot believe all this. The 
Bombelles family, with whom we are acquainted, 
and who possess many fiefs in Alsace, is one of the 
most honourable and respectable families that I 
know. It would give me great pain to think that 
its honour should receive so deep a wound. Thanks 
to heaven and to Louis XVI., such things cannot 
happen again ; the edict by which the validity of 
Protestant marriages is recognised is one of the 
ofreatest benefits which this wise and virtuous mo- 
narch has conferred upon his people. We Alsa- 
tians never had anjrthing to fear on this account, 
the treaty by which Alsace was reunited to France 
having secured all our rights. We did not, on that 
account, feel the less pleasure at the justice granted 
to our brethren in the other provinces, as every- 
thing concerning the Protestant religion is of equal 
importance to all its members. 

1772. — At this time a great many visitors came 
to Montbeliard, whose names it will give me plea- 
siu-e to recall. The memories of one's youth are 
like preserved flowers ; one loves to breathe their 
faint perfume, to revive those faded hues that were 
once so beautiful and fresh. I would not have 
much confidence in any person who would have an 
objection to review the past ; it would seem to me 
as if memory could only bring them remorse. 

One of the persons whose appearance struck me 



60 MEMOIBS OF 

most was the baron de Glaubitz. He was tall, and 
had been as handsome as the god of day (as some 
ladies tell who were acquainted with him formerly). 
He still retained many traces of this beauty, when 
I saw him, although he was then nearly sixty years 
of age. His teeth were very good. During his 
journey he stopped some days at Belfort, where he 
had been present at some discussion which took 
23lace between the dependents of the duchess of 
Mazarin and those of the duke of Wurtemberg 
He related this affair, mingled with various anec- 
dotes of Madame de Mazarin, in the most amusing 
manner possible. She had made an exchange 
with the duke of the dues and revenues that they 
respectively j)ossessed in the different villages and 
the Alsatian territories in the comte of Montb^- 
liard. This arrangement, which had been sanc- 
tioned by the king, and concluded by the duke's 
giving up his claims in these places, was the cause 
of much embarrassment between the inferior agents 
of these two powers, who pretended that it was 
due to the honour of their masters that they should 
not yield. I have often heard H.S.H. complain 
very much of this. 

Madame de Mazarin, nee Durfort de Duras, is 
daughter of a Laporte-]\Iazarini, last heiress of this 
family and of this title. She was married to the 
duke Yillequier, son of the duke d'Aumont, and 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 61 

brought to him the duchies Meilleraye and Maza- 
rin, from which they take their title. The duchess 
is certainly one of the most singular women of this 
century. She was handsome, but her beauty 
seemed only to serve as a foil for that of others ; she 
was tall, and strong as a caryatide. Her shoulders 
were bent, as if under a great pressure. M. de 
Wittgenstein (he was then colonel, but has since 
become general of Anhalt) used to say that she 
was stooping under her own weight. She had a 
great deal of wit, and an immense fortune, both of 
which she lavished unsparingly, and was only 
laughed at in return. M. de Wittgenstein pos- 
sessed a talent for refined and delicate raillery, 
which was duly appreciated at Montb^liard. There 
were also there several general officers and some 
other persons, in consequence of the assembling 
of several regiments near Bel fort to exercise their 
men, for some reason or other that I forget. We 
had the baron de Reinbach (colonel of the regi- 
ment of Alsace, under M. de Wurmser ; the gene- 
ral de Strahlenheim, by birth a Swede, brave as a 
lion ; and the old General Oberheim, who is still 
alive, and may live for ever if time continues to 
treat him as gently as heretofore ; the old General 
Wangen, who had been colonel of the regiment of 
Alsace ; and many others. For several days the 
conversation in the drawing-room of Etupes was 



62 ]\IEMOIRS OF 

entirely on military affairs. The baron d'Oben- 
lieim, who had been musketeer in 1722, enter- 
tained us with an account of the Marshal de Ber- 
wick. Another, M. de Hartmans (whose name I 
forgot to mention before), major in the Swiss regi- 
ment of Jenner, told how he had been wounded in 
1759. A third (the Baron Christian de Glaubitz) 
had been imprisoned in Frauenburg and Embs- 
dorff in '41 and in '60. We felt more pleasure in 
looking at this latter gentleman than in listening to 
him. There was a long discussion about the order 
of military merit instituted in '59, by Louis XY., 
to recompense his Protestant subjects, as the cross 
of St. Louis could only be given to Catholics. 

This order has three grades of dignity : " The 
Grand Cross," " Commanders," and " Knights." 

On this occasion everybody spoke in the highest 
terms of my uncle the count de Waldner, who, 
mth the prince of Nassau-Saarbruck, was the first 
grand cross appointed by the king, although he 
was at that time only marshal-de-camp. This 
distinguished honour was still more enhanced by 
the flattering expressions with which Louis XY. 
accompanied it. 

" In instituting this order, M. le count," said he 
to him, " it was of you I was thinking." 

The Baron Diesken and Baron Wurrnser had 
been created commanders of the order at its insti- 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 63 

tution. Four grand crosses had been appointed 
since. 

1759 — Baron Waldner. 

1743 — Baron Wurmser, 

1770 — Prince Anhalt Coethen. 

1770 — Baron d'Erlach of Biggisby. 
The rank and honours are the same as in the 
order of St. Louis. The ribbon is blue, the cross 
gold enamelled with white, and bears a sword en 
pal. The motto — " Pro virtute bellica.'' 

I hope I will be pardoned this digression, it 
came almost involuntarily from my pen, at the 
mention of this order of which we Protestants are 
so justly proud. I can assure you that I felt 
extremely flattered and delighted by the manner 
in which so many men of distinguished rank and 
merit spoke of my uncle, and my father and I 
determined to pay him a visit at his chateau 
d'Ollwillon. It was with great difficulty that Ave 
were permitted to leave ]^»Iontbeliard, and the 
Princess Dorothea would scarcely speak to me the 
day before our departure. However, we were 
reconciled before I left, on condition that I should 
return in eight days. I felt quite low-spirited on 
setting out, but my grief was soon forgotten in the 
amusement excited by two very grotesque-looking 
Jews that I saw on the bridge at Montb^liard. (It 
requires but little to dry the tears of youth.) They 



64 MEMOIRS OF 

had two parallel strokes of white chalk on each oi 
theu^ hats, I asked one of our servants if he knew 
the reason : — 

" That means, Mademoiselle la comtesse/' said 
he, " that they have paid six sous nine deniers ; a 
tax imposed on the Jews for passing this bridge/' 

Poor Jews ! they must pay for everytliing ; but 
they know how to regain their money with interest. 
This nation, with its eternal brand, is a living 
proof of the truth of the Gospel ; and I cannot 
comprehend why they do not become converts to 
Christianity. To believe they need only look upon 
themselves. 

Ollwillon is a magnificent chateau, and one of the 
finest domains of Alsace. My uncle had it rebuilt 
before I was born, so that I never saw the ancient 
chateau. It is situated in the centre of Soultz. 
M. de Walduer was married in IT-iS to Mademoi- 
selle Heusse de Vologer (she was a year older than 
he), daughter of the marquis de Yologer, a very 
rich fermier-g^n^ral, whom the king had raised to 
a marquisate. She brought my uncle a very large 
fortune, which had enabled him to rebuild his 
ancestral castle. 

I hope that I \\dll be pardoned if I say a few 
words more of this count de Waldner, of whom I do 
not think it too much to assert that he is not only 
an honour to our family, but also to our province ; 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 65 

and I think it may be permitted to his niece to 
speak of his talents and his services. I cannot 
"understand that false modesty which would not 
allow us to mention the nobler qualities of our 
relations, whilst it gives us full liberty to proclaim 
their defects. 

The Count Dagobert de Waldner, my father's 
second brother, is most undoubtedly a distinguished 
man. He is endowed, as well as his brothers, with 
a noble and handsome countenance, and looks 
extremely well in his military uniform, He was 
born in 1712, and entered the army at fourteen as 
ensign in the regiment of Pfiffer-Suisse. He 
raised a company in 1734, and in 1741 he was 
made captain of the regiment of Swiss guards. He 
distinguished himself at the sieges of Menin, 
Ypres, Fribourg, and Tournay, and also in the 
battle of Lafeld. In 1755 he became second 
colonel, and in two years after, by the death of 
M. de Wittener, full colonel of the regiment which 
he commanded at the battle of Busbach. He was 
appointed marshal-de-camp in 1758, and lieu- 
tenant-general in 1762. 

I have already told how my uncle had been 
made grand cross of the order of military merit 
on the day of its institution bv Louis XV. in 
1759. 

The king had already recompensed his services 

VOL. I. F 



66 MEMOIRS OF 

by gTanting him, in 17^2, the title of count, trans- 
missible to my father should the Count Dagobert 
die without posterity ; which seems jery likely to 
hajDpen. 

I hope that these records of service — to use a 
military^ phrase — will not appear out of place in 
these memoirs. I speak but little of myself or my 
relatives except when I consider it absolutely ne- 
cessary for the clearness or authenticity of what I 
relate. This count de Waldner was the hero of 
my youth ; my young imagination had been excited 
by the fame of his deeds of aomis, his virtues, and 
his benevolence. I love him extremely, and I 
would wish that my daughter, in inheriting this 
sentiment, should know^ the source from which it 
sprung. We were very well received at Ollwillon^ 
where M. de Waldner held great state.* I was 
very happy there. They were thinking of giving a 
ball for me, when I received a letter from my dear 
Princess Dorothea scoldino^ me for having- exceeded 
my leave of absence, and announcing the birth of 
a young prince. This was her royal highnesses 
eighth son They wished me to be present at the 
baptism, and I was obliged to leave all the j)leasures 
of my uncle's chateau to comply with this invita- 

* The portrait of the count de Waldner may be seen 
in the portrait gallery of the historical museum at Ver- 
sailles. 



THE BAEOXESS d'oBERKIRCH. 67 

tion. The child was called Henry Frederick 
Charles. He is now seventeen (1789), and is 
certainly a prince in every way remarkable. He 
is frank, affable, and possesses a very high sense of 
honour. On the day of his baptism I got a very 
heavy cold, although it was the month of July. The 
Princess Dorothea and I persisted in taking a walk 
in the garden although it rained in torrents, and 
both got wet in our feet. I have very good cause 
to remember that cold, for I was not completely 
rid of it for six months. We were both obliged to 
keep our room ; and I do not know how it hap- 
pened that our conversation should be about public 
affairs, and the aggrandizement of Russia by the 
division of Poland. I have already observed that 
the princess seemed to have a presentiment of her 
future dignity. She took more interest in this 
great northern power than in any other. Wc 
hazarded many profound conjectures, and dis- 
coursed very sensibly about this division, inter- 
rupted by sneezing and occasional draughts of 
barley-water. Amongst other persons, we spoke 
of a certain Muscovite gentleman, whose name I 
forget, but at the mention of which we always 
laughed immoderately, because it happened that 
every time the princess attempted to pronounce it 
she was seized with a violent fit of sneezing. He 
was fortunately dead at the time of her marriage, 

f2 



68 MEMOIRS OF 

or he midit have caused her an eternal cold in the 
head. 

The total dissolution of the order of Jesuits by 
the Bull of Pope Clement XIV. was one of the 
most important events of the year '73. I will not 
make any reflection on this affair, as I do not 
consider myself competent to judge either of monks 
or of the Catholic religion. 

Louis XV. died, and Louis XVI. ascended the 
throne on the 10th of May 1774. This reign 
opened with the most brilliant prospects, in which 
the people of Alsace took particular interest in 
compliment to Marie Antoinette. However, the 
baron de Wurmser remarked, that the princesses 
of the house of Austria never brought good for- 
tune to France. 

The mourning for the king delayed for some 
time the introduction of a very ridiculous fashion 
which usurped the place of the qitesaco. This was 
the 2^oiLf au sentiment. It was a head-dress, 
into which may be introduced the likeness of any 
person or thing for which one may feel affection, 
such as a miniature of one's daughter or mother, a 
picture of a canary or a dog, &c., &c,, adorned with 
the hair of a father or of a beloved friend. It was 
a most incredible piece of extravagance. We were 
determined to follow the fashion, and the Princess 
Dorothea once amused herself for an entire day by 



THE BAKONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 69 

wearing on her ear the picture of a woman holding 
a bunch of keys, and which she declared was 
Madame Hendel. The femme-cle-charge thought 
it a striking likeness, and was almost out of her 
senses with pride and joy. 

1775. The princes of Montb^liard were very 
much annoyed by the conduct of the margrave of 
Baruth, who, to the great scandal of the entire 
nobility, had brought from Paris Mademoiselle 
Clairon, an actress, to be governess to his children, 
Her royal highness could not repress her in- 
dignation. 

" Is there no means," said she, " of restraining 
that foolish old man ? Must we submit to see the 
affairs of the margraviate, and the education of the 
young princes, placed in the hands of a fille de the- 
atre, who has already shown what she is capable of.'' 

" But she can at least teach them to wear a 
court dress, and to pronounce a harangue correctly, 
madam," said the prince, who wished to teaze her 
a little. 

" Fie, sir," said she, "you ought rather to be 
ashamed than to laugh at it, for he is your ally. 
What ! Melpomene for prime minister ! She who 
has been constantly exciting quarrels in the green- 
room will most certainly set the whole principality 
by the ears. But the margrave will only get 
what he deserves." 



70 MEMOIRS OF 

At this moment M. de Wurmser entered mth a 
mournful piece of intelligence, which caused this 
affair to be forgotten for some days. The duke of 
Deux-Ponts had been killed at the chase some 
days before, the stag having unexpectedly turned, 
and darting on him, killed him on the spot. This 
prince was very much regretted, and particularly 
on account of the manner of his death. Her royal 
highness the princess of Montbeliard, however, 
could never entirely forgive his having embraced 
the Catholic religion. She never mentioned this 
subject before the prince, but often spoke largely 
of it when we were alone. Christian III., duke 
of Deux-Ponts, was descended from the house 
of Berkenfeld. His father, duke of Berkenfeld, 
succeeded to Deux-Ponts as Christian 11. in 1734. 
The succession had been disputed by the prince 
palatine, but the dispute was settled by arbi- 
tration. 

The duke. Christian III., was succeeded as 
prince of Deux-Ponts by his nephew. 

This was a year of accidents. A duel occurred 
in Strasburg, in which we felt great interest, as 
we were acquainted with both parties concerned. 
The baron de Pirch, several years before this 
event, had left the Prussian service, for some reason 
of which I am ignorant, and entered that of France. 
He was a man of great talent and extensive 



THE BAROXESS D'OBERKIRCII. 71 

information, and who seemed to be destined for a 
brilliant career. He has written several valuable 
works on military tactics. He was at the time of 
which I speak captain in the regiment of Anhalt, 
garrisoned in Strasburg. One of his brother 
officers, jealous it is said of his talents and position, 
sought a quarrel with him, the consequence of 
which was a duel, in which the baron was danger- 
ously wounded. Fortunately he did not die, and 
his adversary was overwhelmed with the reproaches 
and contempt of everybody. We admired Baron 
Pirch very much ; his manners were so dignified 
and refined ; and he was constantly cited as a 
model for the young nobles. This passion for 
fighting duels has caused a great deal of sorrow 
in France ; how many children has it not torn 
from their mothers ! how many husbands from 
their wives ! The idea of honour which is an- 
nexed to it cannot be easily argued away, and we 
are forced to submit to that which we cannot 
overcome. 

During this interval I had made many journeys, 
with my father to Schweighausen, of which I do not 
think it necessary to speak farther. I abridge 
these years of my youth that I may arrive the 
sooner at a more interesting portion of my life, 
when I was acquainted with many eminent and 
illustrious persons. However, our little court at 



72 IMEMOIRS OF 

Montbeliard possessed more chamis and interests 
than at first would appear possible. But the time 
is coming when I will have other things to 
speak of. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 73 



CHAPTER IV. 

Strasburg — Duke d'Aiguillon, Marshal Contades, Baron 
Lort, M. de Marzy - Madame Berekheim — M. de Dietrich 
— M. and Madame Franck — Luxury of Prince Heyder- 
scheim — Chapter of OUmarsheim — Mademoiselle de 
Flachsland — Fashionable colours — Lavater's letter — 
I send him my silhouette— Consecration of the bishop 
of Basle — Hereditary charge of Rothberg — House of 
Wangen — M. Gothe writes to me — Strange letter from 
M. Lavater — My marriage — Baron Oberkirch — Messrs. 
de Wurmser — I write to Princess Dorothea — Conver- 
sation with my father — Interview — Kindness of the 
princes of Wurtemberg — The wedding day — M. de 
Turckheim — The dowager baroness Oberkirch, oiee de 
Buch — Another letter from M. Lavater — Marriage of 
Princess Dorothea — Negotiation of Prince Henry of 
Prussia — His connection with Catherine IL — The Grand- 
duke Paul Petrowitz sets out for Berlin — Departure of 
the princess — Sad adieus — She writes to me the day of 
her interview with the prince — Her letter— She is re- 
baptized and called Mary Fcederowna — Nuptials — 
Another letter from the grand-duchess — She sets out 
for St. Petersburg — She writes again to me — Charming 
letter — Return of her parents to Montbeliard — Touching 
episode — Letter of M. Wieland, 

My father wished to go to Strasburg this year, 
1776. We were delighted with our visit ; the 
society was of the highest fashion, numerous and 
exceedingly gay. I began to love balls and fetes ; 
it was natural at my age ; however, I have never 



7^ MEMOIRS OF 

transgTessed the bounds of the severe morality in 
which I was educated, nor swerved for a moment 
from the hereditary dignity of my family. "We 
Protestants are accused of stiffness ; we certainly 
set a high value upon reserve in the conduct of 
women, and strict moral principles. We are con- 
vinced that the purest happiness is to be found in 
domestic life, in a close adherence to the rules of 
honour, and a solemn respect for the holiness of the 
marriage tie. We are perhaps on that account less 
fascinating, but more trustworthy. 

The duke d'Aiguillon, governor of the province 
of Alsace, was not resident. The marechal de 
Contades, commander-in-chief, came sometimes. 
We often saw the baron de Lort, the king's lieu- 
tenant at Strasburg, commander of St. Louis and 
of St. Lazare. We had a very fine house, and 
entertained respectably. M. de Marzy, brigadier, 
commander of the military school, cared only for 
the society of military men ; we met at his house 
all the officers of the garrison. 

In our own family we had a great deal of society ; 
first Monsieur and Madame Berekheim de Schop- 
penw3rr. Monsieur de Berekheim was captain in the 
regiment of Alsace. He was my uncle after the 
fashion of Bretagne, being cousin-german to my 
mother. Madame de Berekheim was a Glaubitz. 
Monsieur Jean (Jio'rs) de Dietrich, eldest son of 



THE BARONESS d'OEERKIRCH. 75 

the baron de Dietrich, whose wife was also a 
Glaubitz. 

M. and Madame Franck, bankers, were on an 
equality with the first people in the city, and went 
into the best society. Our nobility are, however, 
very exclusive, and justly so ; they are one of the 
oldest aristocracies in Europe. I shall often have 
occasion to speak of these excellent Francks, who 
have rendered good service to their country. 

My father was at that time very busy as Pre- 
sident of the Directory of the resident nobility of 
rOrtenau ; however he found time to visit the 
grand prior of Malta at Heydersheim. The baron 
de Waldner was commander of the order of St. John, 
and etiquette required him to offer this attention 
to the highest dignitary of the order in Germany. 
He had, from different causes, long delayed this visit, 
perhaps it was that I retained him at Montb^liard 
where I went often, and stayed as long as possible. 
The grand prior went to Heydersheim, in Brisgau ; 
the city belonged to him, having been given to the 
order of St. John of Jerusalem by the margrave of 
Baden-Hochberg, in 1296. He bears the title of 
prince of Heydersheim, and sits at the Diet as 
ecclesiastical prince immediately after the abbot de 
Murbach. He claims the sovereignty of the subjects 
of the grand priory, but the house of Austria 
contests the claim. 



76 MEMOIRS OF 

There is one thing very clear, that if the grand 
prior furnishes his contingent to the empire, and 
sends part of the revenue of his offices to Malta, he 
still reserves the greater part for himself, for he is 
very rich, and distingiiished for his splendour 
through all Germany, where he spends a great deal 
of money.* 

During the absence of my father I made a most 
agreeable visit, for which I had his permission. I 
went to pass iny widoivhood at Altkirch, at the 
noble chapter of Oltmarskeim. Mde. de Flachs- 
land, who was abbess since 17'^7, was one of my 
mother's dearest friends, and she every year asked 
me to visit her. I met there charming young per- 
sons amongst the canonesses, who all bore the title 
of baroness. They practised a thousand endearing 
arts to induce me to remain longer ^^Ai\\ them. 

These eight days were passed in walking, in ex- 
amining the remains of Roman antiquities, in sing- 
ing and laughing a great deal, and even in dancing, 
for they saw a great deal of society at the abbey ; 
but above all, in speaking of the newest fashions. 
I was questioned very closely about my toilette. 
The baronesses wore high plumes upon their heads, 
a style of coiffure which suits only tall women ; 
the chins of the smaller ladies ajDpeared midway 

* He died the following year, and the count de Reinsch 
de Foussemagne was elected in his stead. 



THE BAE0XES3 d'OBEEKIKCH. 77 

between their feet and the tij)s of these nodding 
plumes. The colours then in fashion were what 
was called cheveuo: de la reine ; this was a pale 
OTev and a bro\Miish violet, first worn bv her ma- 
jesty, and which the king said resembled a puce 
(flea). That shade of colour still retains the name^ 
though it varied for some time between cuisse de 
puce, verdre de puce, dos de^juce.^ All that is so 
French. The abbess, amiable and witty, though 
she was no lons^er vouno-. lested with us about 
these serious things. 

On arriving at Strasburcr^ after biddino- a tender 
farewell to mv new friends. I found a letter which 
interested me very much, and of which I was quite 
proud. It was from ^L Lavater, a Protestant mi- 
nister at Zmich, who had devoted much time to 
tracuig the relation which exists between the tem- 
per, the sentiments of the soid, and the features of 
the human countenance. He had been at EtujDes 
the previous auttmin, and my friends had spoken 
to him of me in a most flatterinu" manner. Here 
is the letter : — 

> 

" Dare I (am I to speak as an acquaiatance or 
as a strano-er ?) ask vou a favour, and a benefit, ex- 

* TTe fear that a literal translation of these terms would 
be too broad for English ears. It is sufficient to sav that 
the shade retains still the name of puce colour. 



78 IMEMOIRS OF 

cellent countess ? All good people are connected 
by invisible and indissoluble bonds. They feel an 
inclination to love and to become acquainted "vvith 
one another ; and when they cannot meet person- 
ally they at least give each other a description of 
their respective features. You assuredly know 
what worship I have vowed to the physiognomy 
of wise and virtuous persons. Thus, without fur- 
ther preamble, will I pray your noble and good 
heart to send me your silhouette,* correctly and 
faithfully drawn, persuaded already that you will 
find a pleasure in doing that which will cause me 
so great a happiness. Let me only see a means of 
doing you, in my turn, the slightest service. 

"J. G. Lavater. 

"Zuricli, nth February 1776." 

It is scarcely necessary to say that this letter 
was written in German, and that this is a literal 
translation. I did not think that I ought to re- 
fuse my silhouette, and my father permitted me to 
send it. M. Lavater was seldom mistaken. I 
have known instances where his opinion was won- 
derfully correct. It was very interesting to hear 
him explain his doctrine which was perfectly clear 
and easily understood. He pointed out at Etupes 
the evil disposition of a confidential servant, and 

* A profile likeness in black. 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 79 

the event justified the trutli of his doctrine. The 
prince de Montbehard frequently cited this 
example, and believed in M. Lavater as firmly as 
in God. 

My father was at home before me, and received 
me with rapture. Whilst we were relating our 
respective adventures during the eight days of 
separation, there was announced Monseigneur the 
bishop of Basle, the baron de Wangen de Gerolds- 
eck, who came in person to invite us to his con- 
secration. It was to take place on the first of the 
approaching month of March. The bishop of 
Basle is a nobleman of high rank ; and it is worthy 
of remark that there exist in Alsace high ecelesi- 
astical dignities, notwithstanding the differences of 
religion wliich divide the country. The bishop of 
Basle is spiritual and temporal sovereign of this 
bishopric, which forms a pretty considerable prin- 
cipality. The city of Basle, which formerly made 
part of the bishopric, has embraced Calvinism, and 
is no longer under the authority of the bishop, 
who resides at Porentiery, the capital of this 
sovereignty since the reformation. This city lies 
on the frontiers of Alsace, and its cathedral has a 
chapter of eighteen noble canons. The next con- 
siderable city is Delemont. The bishop is in 
alliance with seven Swiss cantons, and is under 
the spiritual jurisdiction of the archbishopric of 



80 MEMOIRS OF 

Besanqon. He ranks at the Diet before the bishop 

of Liege. 

The Rothbergs hold here a very important 
hereditary office. They fixed themselves in the 
neighbourhood of Basle in the tenth century, as well 
as the Flachslands and a branch of the Andlaus, 
after the Hungarians had laid waste and depopu- 
lated this country in the reign of Bodolph II. 

M. de Wangen is about fifty years of age— a 
worthy man, and devoted to his duties. When he 
will be consecrated, nothing more will remain for 
him to do but to take an oath before the emperor ; 
a ceremony which mil take place, as he told us, 
very shortly. By how many bonds is this country 
still connected with Germany ! 

The family of Wangen is one of the most 
ancient of Alsace, and was formerly one of the 
most powerful. The Emperor Sigismond bestowed 
upon the Wangens the castle of Geroldseck, and 
other fiefs of the house of that name which had 
just become extinct. Gerold, father-in-laAv of 
Charlemagne, had built this castle on one of the 
mountains of Yosges quite close to Saverne. The 
IDresent baron de Wangen is a general officer. He 
commanded the regiment of Alsace, and was 
wounded and made prisoner in the affair at Clos- 
tercamp in 1760, which obtained him the rank of 
field-marshal. 



THE BAROXESS d'OBERKIRCH. 81 

If I linger a little too long over these records of 
ancient days, it is because that, if we are to credit 
general appearances, they are about to disappear 
for ever, and I would wish to conserve the remem- 
brance of them for myself and my children. Alas ! 
how saddening it is to think that soon, very soon, 
only slight traces of those ancient laws will remain 
which protected our ancestors, and beneath which 
they lived happy during so many centuries ! Every- 
thing here below passes away — everything is de- 
stroyed ; the best as well as the worst have their 
appointed term, good and ill are alike transient ; 
all flits rapidly beneath the eye of the Sovereign 
Master, who is alone immutable and eternal. 

A literary star must have presided over my 
destiny this year. M. Gothe sent me a copy of 
his ' Claudine,' which I have found as deeply affect- 
ing as his ' Werther.' I am an enthusiastic admirer 
of this poet : I have read his tragedy of ' Gotz de 
Berlichingen' at least twenty times, and always 
with fresh emotion. M. Gothe finished his studies 
at Strasburg, and was there when the dauphiness, 
our present beloved queen, passed through. I 
will insert here the letter which accompanied the 
copy of ' Claudine' — 

" I send you my ' Claudine ;' may it procure you 
an agreeable moment ! During my author-life (in 
VOL. I. Q 



82 MEMOIRS OF 

other respects a wearying pathway), I have been 
fortunate enough to meet and to appreciate many 
worthy people, many noble minds, amongst whom 
I find a pleasure in classing you. It is for such in 
particular that I delight to describe what most 
deeply impresses my mind and heart ; by this you 
mil understand that I ^viite for you. I think I 
ought to send you these few lines, which I know 
you will receive with indulgence. May you live as 
happy as one ought to be with a heart like yours, 
and deio^n to number me alwavs among'st the most 
devoted of your servants. 

" GOTHE. 
" Weimar, 13th May 1776.^' 

I have neglected to say, and indeed I do not know 
how it could have escaped me — I have neglected 
then to speak of a journey that M. Gothe made 
to Montbeliard where I saw him, and offered him 
the tribute of admiration which he deserved. He 
was good enough to form an oj^inion of me of which 
I was unworthy. Every one was so kind to Lmiele 
at ]\rontb^liard ! They overwhelmed me with kind- 
ness, and spoiled me with so good a grace. Tears 
spring to my eyes when I think of it. Oh ! one 
could never again make such friends ; one must be 
young, in the first flush of the illusions and affections 
of youth, to form such attachments. I feel it every 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 88 

day more and more, as Time's cold wing flitting by 
chills and hardens the heart. 

M. Lavater replied to me by a letter so strange 
that I did not know, and do not yet know, what to 
think of it. I had sent him a sketch of myself ; 
many others had done the like, and I attached no 
importance to this present, if it were one. I wrote 
him a polite letter. I am not capable of granting a 
favour ungraciously. M. Lavater has the reputation 
of being a pious and estimable minister ; the word 
pastor is underlined after his signature. I think 
then that his letter proves a want of good taste, or 
it is more probably the result of his mystic imagi- 
nation. However that may be, here is the letter. 
Let every one judge for himself: — 

'' The most delicious, dare I say mother, sister, 
friend ? how shall I thank you for your double gift, 
for your dear likeness ? Still, what is it ? Pardon 
me a bold request, but we give again to those to 
whom we have once given. I am not yet satisfied. 
I have your silhouette ; it is only a shadow ! which 
contains more and less truth than your miniature, 
(for what would not this latter express !) which I also 
wish to have, but it must be as close in the resem- 
blance and as finely executed as the gift which I 
received enclosed. I am frank, because I believe, 
I love, I hope — ever more and more. I say little, my 

G 2 



84? MEMOIRS OF 

sentiments are profound. Oh ! that I cannot 
perfectly express all my thoughts, and say all that 
I feel 

" I kiss 3' our beneficent hand, 

" JoHx Gaspard Layater, 

" Pastor. 

"Zurich, 22nd March 1776." 

A lady of Versailles would certainly have amused 
herself with this " all that I feeV I contented 
myself mth not rephdng, and keeping to myself a 
circumstance that may throw ridicule upon a mi- 
nister of our religion. I had besides something else 
to do. ]\Iy marriage with INI. d'Oberkirch had been 
jDroposed, and I thought only of the solemn act 
which was to influence the remainder of my life, 
and which could not be treated too seriously. 
Messieurs de Wurmser, our relations, Avere the first 
who had thought of this alliance, and spoke of it to 
my father, who received the proposal favourably. 
M. d'Oberkirch had served under the orders of the 
elder. Christian, lieutenant-general, formerly com- 
mander of the regiment of Alsace. The younger, 
Frank de Wurmser, now brigadier, was then lieu- 
tenant-colonel of the same reoiment. Both Avere 

o 

capable of ap^oreciating the bravery and the moral 
qualities of M. d'Oberkirch, who besides was their 
relative through the Buchs. The noble families of 



THE BAROXESS d'oBERKIRCH. 85 

Alsace are all connected. Frank de Wurmserwas 
also colonel of the regiment of foreign volunteers 
de Wurmser ; M. de Tort de St. Victor served 
under him as commanding-colonel. 

The Baron Siegfried d'Oberkirch, head of the 
Protestant branch of his family, appeared to all my 
family a suitable match. Descendants of knights 
who figured in the tournaments of the twelfth 
century, they possess the fief of Oberkirch in Lower 
Alsace. During several centuries they have ranked 
amongst the noble families governing Strasburg, 
and the title of princess has been borne by several 
ladies of this house, amongst others by two abbesses 
of Hohenbourg (Saint Odile). 

M. d'Oberkirch was handsome, though not re- 
markably so. He was of small stature, but of a 
highly distingue air, and a most amiable expres- 
sion of countenance. He had a good understand- 
ing, and as mucli information as a man could 
acquire who had entered the army so young. He 
was talked of in Strasburg as a model of perfect 
elegance, and it may be said that he led the fashion 
there, though he was forty years of age. 

Breveted ensign in 17*16, at eleven years of age, 
in the Boyal Swedish Regiment, it was only in 
1719 that he commenced to serve in the regiment 
of Alsace. In 1758 he received a captain's com- 
mission in the Royal Deux-Ponts : he made four 



86 MEMOIRS OF 

campaigns, and fought several battles. He received 
the cross of military merit in 1763, and quitted 
the service. He is one of the nobles of the council 
of the Chamber of Fifteen in the senate of the free 
city of Strasburg, as his ancestors have been from 
time immemorial. His father was also Stattmeister, 
that is to say, president of this senate, in 1748. 

There was here a sufficiency of honourable titles, 
so that on this point I had no fault to find ; but I 
felt some hesitation when I reflected on the differ- 
ence of age. I was still very young, he was forty ; 
he had mixed a great deal in the world, I was 
only entering into life : could he love me as I would 
wish to be loved ? Msij not the habits of soldier- 
life render it impossible for him to content himself 
in the narrow circle of domestic duties, mthout 
seeking amusements elsewhere ? I feared all that, 
though he pleased me, and precisely because he 
did please me were my fears so lively. I had re- 
marked him several times in the different circles 
where we met : my father spoke to me of him at 
this time. I observed him more closely ; I saw 
that he watched me, and I began to think that he 
was as much interested as I. Messieurs Wurmser 
sang me litanies in his praise from morning till 
night. I was inclined to believe them — so well in- 
clined that I did believe them, and I gave my 
consent. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 87 

My father embraced me when I said yes. He 
wept as he blessed me, and pronounced the name 
of my mother. What a solemn day was that ! I 
had pledged myself for ever — we were not people 
to retract our word. My father and I supped tete- 
a-tete ; we were silent and grave. My father's 
eyes were never once turned from my face : I was 
so disturbed that I could not restrain myself — I 
went over to kiss his hand. 

*' You will be happy/' my dear child, said he, 
" and if you take my advice, we will hasten to 
conclude our arrangements. I have remarked at 
all times that marriages, where the negotiations 
are protracted, never turn out well. I have ac- 
quainted the Messieurs Wurmser with your answer 
and mine ; they have already, in all probability, 
informed M. d'Oberkirch. Have you any objec- 
tion that he should be presented here to-mor- 
row i 

" None, fa,ther," I replied ; " I detest all forma- 
lities.'' 

" Well, then, to-morrow the interview shall take 
place ; to-morrow the important day and hour shall 
be decided. We will have to acquaint all our re- 
latives, and their highnesses at Montb^liard." 

" My dear father, if you will allow me, I would 
prefer going myself to announce my marriage to 
the duchess." 



88 MEMOIRS OF 

" We will go together, my dear child, it is a 
duty/' 

Immediately after supper my father retired to 
his room. He was deeply affected, and almost ill. 
It had been proposed that I should spend part of 
the year with my mother-in-law ; this would be a 
great privation for my ]3oor father, who had been 
accustomed to have me always with him. As for 
me, I was young, and life presented to me a smiling 
perspective — a husband that would adore me, I was 
told, and that whom, my heart whispered, I would 
adore ; but my dear, dear father, who was to be 
henceforth alone for a gTeat part of the year, given 
up to his memories and his regrets, and who yet 
consented to what he believed would secure my 
happiness. How sublime are parents in this con- 
stant sacrifice of self, and how seldom do children 
make an adequate return 1 

However, I slept little : at six in the morning I 
was up and dressed, and immediately commenced 
a letter to the Princess Dorothea. I related to her 
the whole progress of my projected marriage, my 
reflections, my tardy consent, and my intention of 
going to tell her all that de vive voix. As soon as 
my father was risen I went into his room ; he was 
pale, he had evidently suffered much. 

"'My dear father, are you tormented about 
me T I said ; " in that case M. d'Oberkirch is too 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 89 

honourable not to release you from your pro- 
mise? 

" I was thinking that I, too, married a woman 
that I loved ; that that woman was your mother, 
and that she will not be witness of your happiness, 
my dear daughter/'' 

" But, father, she watches over and beholds us \" 

I never could comprehend why Catholics pray 
for the dead, as if it were not much more consoling 
to think that they pray for us. 

Immediately after dinner the Messrs. Wurmser 
arrived, bringing with them M. d'Oberkirch, more 
elegantly attired than usual, and not a whit less 
embarrassed than I — ^which is saying a great deal. 
We made each a profound salutation. The elder 
M. Wurmser took the baron by the hand, and pre- 
sented him to me in form as my future husband. 

" Madam," said my betrothed, with a simplicity 
that I considered a good omen, "you have made 
me very happy, and I hope that you will have no 
cause to regret it." 

As to me, I made no reply. I have always re- 
marked that betrothed brides are particularly 
stupid. My father took the Messieurs Wurmser to 
the other end of the drawing-room, under pre- 
tence of talking about business, and we were left 
alone. I began to recover myself, and M. d'Ober- 
kirch was no longer afraid of me. He spoke of 



90 MEMOIRS OF 

different things, keeping still in view the point 
which he jDerhaps was as anxious to discuss as I. 
As I have already observed, he possessed much 
tact, and manoeuvred the matter very well. I wore 
a dress of puce-coloured brocade, I remember it 
perfectly well, and a little cliapeaii poiif which 
was then the highest of fashion. He complimented 
me on my dress, and immediately added : — 

" You study fashion, countess." 

"When I have time to think of it/' 

" Do you follow closely its varying whims f 

"Ohno.— But your 

''I often anticipate them/' 

" So I have heard," I said, smiling, though my 
heart beat quick. 

" Does that displease you T 

" No, provided I be the first to whom the secret 
is communicated." 

" Countess, I hope that you do me the honour 
of reckoning on my politeness. Are you not mis- 
tress in your own house, and would your chief 
servant wear a dress which had not previously met 
your sanction?" 

I felt myself blush ; it was the sole expression 
of my approval. 

" My mother will have the honour of visiting 
3^ou," continued he. 

" It is I who ought to pay her my respects." 



THE BARONESS D'oBERKIRCH. 91 

m 

" Afterwards, I hope ; but at present, as only- 
one of us, alas ! has a mother, it is she who ought 
to visit you. She is so kind — she Avill love you so/' 

" Oh, I am inclined to love her as much as — '' 

I stopped short ; I was near saying something 
stupid. M. d'Oberkirch perceived it, and, like a 
of tact, took no notice. 

" I fear that you will not find Quatzenheim as 
agreeable as Schweighausen ; it is a dreary and 
desert place. My grandfather purchased this place 
on account of its importance and its revenues ; my 
father and mother found it always very dull. 

"And Oberkirch?" 

" Oberkirch is still worse : I never go there but 
during the hunting season. I have the weakness 
to love this exercise passionately. You will not, I 
hope, forbid it T' 

" Passionately \" resumed I, with a little pout, 
■which, as it seems, did not displease him. 

" My dear madam, replied he quickly, if we 
converse in German we will understand one 
another better.'' 

It was unnecessary : he pleaded his suit, and I 
understood him perfectly. 

I went with my father to pass some days at 
Montbeliard to announce my happiness to the 
prince and princess ; both congratulated me sin- 
cerely. At my departure the duchess de Mont- 



92 MEMOIRS OF 

beliard gave me a diamond aoraffe, and her auojust 
spouse presented me an aigrette ; but that wliich 
gave me most pleasure was that my dear princess 
clasped upon my arm her own portrait. I wept 
on receiving it. I knew that there were vague 
rumours of her marriage, and that it was possible 
that we might be soon deprived of her. She did 
not hide from me a single thought. I knew her 
timid joy, and the struggle that contending feehngs 
wrought within her heart. Nothing was yet de- 
cided ; she did not even know the name of her 
future husband ; she knew that he was one of the 
most illustrious princes in Europe, but of all further 
particulars she was ignorant. 

The day of my arrival at Strasburg, M. d'Ober- 
kirch brought me an elegant vis-a-vis, and the 
next day the marriage articles were signed. He 
sent me very beautiful presents. My mother-in- 
law gave me a necklace of pearls. 

The important day at length arrived. I was all 
bedecked with English lace. I wore a dress of 
Venetian point over a white watered slip. M. 
d'Oberkirch was so exquisitely dressed that every 
tongue was loud in his praise. His coat of light 
blue, embroidered with gold, attracted universal 
admhation. My father wished that he should 
appear in his uniform, but it was decided that 
that was impossible. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 93 

Amongst the persons present at my marriage 
were, as a matter of course, my excellent uncle 
the baron de Berekheim de Ribecauville, second 
brother of my mother, and married to a Ratham- 
hausen. He was the best of men. He hastened 
to us at the first intimation of my marriage. He 
had always felt deeply obliged to my father for 
not having married a second time. M. de Berek- 
heim de Leyrath, his eldest brother, and my god- 
father, counsellor of the regency of Baden, whose 
wife was a Glaubitz. There was also present 
M. de Turckheim, gentleman in waiting to his 
highness the duke of Saxe- Weimar. He came 
direct from Weimar, and brought me intelligence 
of M. Gothe, who sent his respects and best wishes 
for my happiness. 

On leaving the church we went direct to the Hotel 
d'Oberkirch, situated Bue de la Nuee Bleus, near 
the square St. Pierre le Jeune, between the hotel 
of the grand prevot of the cathedral and the 
government hotel. I was to reside there thence- 
forth with the dowager baroness d'Oberkirch, nee 
baroness de Buch. I was received in great form. 
A superb suite of apartments had been prepared 
for me, the elegance and comfort of which did 
credit to my husband's taste. I must not forget 
to speak of wondrous hangings which were dis- 
played there. These were of India manufacture, 



94 MEMOIRS OF 

richly embroidered, and had once belonged to the 
grandmother of M. d'Oberkirch. Spite of my 
grief at leaving my father, I soon became accus- 
tomed to my new mode of life ; my husband 
spared no care or attention on his part that could 
render it agreeable. We afterwards made visits 
with my mother-in-law to all the neighbouring 
nobility, who hastened in return to offer their 
congratulations, and during three days our hotel 
was not a moment without visitors. 

Scarcely was I married when I received another 
letter from M. Lavater; he had understood my 
silence, and changed his style : — 

" Honourable Friend '' (it was so he wrote), 

" An Italian abbe, the count Velo de Vicence, 
who has resided some time at Zurich, and whose 
conduct and character are unexceptionable, intends 
to make some stay at Strasburg, where, in order 
to arrange his affairs, he is most anxious to obtain 
an audience of the cardinal-archbishop of Stras- 
burg. I do not know any person at Strasburg 
to whom I could apply to help him to attain this 
object except you, the most noble, the best of 
women and patronesses. These lines will not be 
unj^rofitable if they serve me as well as those 
with which I took the liberty of asking as respect- 
fully, and so earnestly, your silhouette. I do not 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 95 

know whether you are accustomed to so much 
frankness ; but I know, if your portrait does not 
deceive, that you will deign to tolerate my letters, 
such as they are. I expect a line to assure me 
that I have not erred in my opinion. 

" John Gaspard Lavater. 

" Zuricli, 11th May 1776." 

M. d'Oberkirch saw this letter, and insisted 
upon my sending my miniature to M. Lavater, to 
know what he would say of my disposition. I had 
not shown the former odd letter to my husband ; 
however, after fresh importunities I decided to 
obey him. Here is M. Lavater's answer : — 

" I thank you respectfully for your silhouette, 
for which I cannot really say much. I do not at 
first sight tell any one what I think of his portrait, 
whether good or ill, unless that I am under an 
imperious obligation to do so. I see noble things 
in your silhouette ; but I must confess (hoping that 
you can endure the truth), that the lower part of 
your face, thanks, perhaps, to the artist, is far from 
being as promising as it appears in the painted 
portrait. I would venture to say that the sil- 
houette has suffered in the cutting ; a hair's 
breadth would spoil all. 

" I am very grateful for what you have done for 



96 MEMOIRS OF 

M. Velo. I ought to thank you more, and apolo- 
gize for my indiscretion, but I shall not do so ; 
the expression of your countenance assures me 
that you set little value on mere words. 

" May I one day have the happiness of assuring 
you, de vive voix, how much I honour you, and 
how highly I estimate the good fortune of the 
man who has the happiness of calling you his wife ? 

" John Gaspard Lavater, 

" Pastor. 
'•Zurich, 14th June, 1776." 

I had introduced his abbe to the prince de 
Rohan, bishop of Strasburg, fi^om father to son, 
as Mdlle. Schneider, my feiwme-de-chanihre, once 
said. He was very courteous to us, though we 
were not of his flock.' The letters of M. Lavater 
are not sjoirituelle, but in transcribing them at 
full length I was anxious to show that a man may 
be endowed with a particular talent without pos- 
sessing the charm of style. I never learned any- 
thing further about my silhouette and my portrait. 
M. d'Oberkirch would have it that he had nothing 
good to tell, and that he did not wish to say any- 
thing bad to my face ; that was his expression. 
It is worthy of remark, that all the time of this 
correspondence, M. Lavater and I had never seen 
each other. 



THE BAEONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 97 

I was about to become a mother. I hastened 
to communicate this intelligence to my dear 
princess, who, in return, wrote, praying me, if my 
health would permit it, to come to her as she was 
immediately to leave Etupes for Berlin, where she 
would probably remain for a long time. She 
would tell me the rest de vive voix. 

" Ah," cried I, " the Princess Dorothea is going to 
be married, and we shall never see her again. I am 
glad in one sense, but I will long bewail her loss." 

M. d'Oberkirch gave me permission to go for a 
few days, but I was to use the greatest precautions. 
It was decided that he should not accompany me, 
as the moment in which the whole family were in 
a state of excitement by the announcement of an 
important piece of intelligence, would not be the 
most suitable to a presentation. This separation 
was painful to both, and my friend must have been 
very dear indeed, when I could make so great a 
sacrifice for her. I found the whole court of Mont- 
bdliard in agitation : a marriage had been unex- 
pectedly proposed — a marriage which certainly 
offered the highest rank in Europe, next that of 
queen of France. The suitor was no less a per- 
sonage than the Grand-duke Paul, heir to the 
throne of Russia. The entire event arose from the 
following circumstance : — 

Prince Frederick of Prussia, brother to Frederick 

VOL I. H 



98 MEMOIRS OF 

the Great, and uncle to the duchess of Wurtem- 
berg-Montbeliard, had been sent in 1770 by the 
king, his iUustrious brother, to Russia, to the court 
of Catherine ll., to negotiate the affairs of Poland, 
and to try to prevent a war between Prussia, 
Austria, and Russia. The success of this negotia- 
tion was complete. The state of anarchy in which 
Poland was then plunged had excited the cupidity 
of Russia and Austria. Prince Henry, not being 
able to oppose the designs of the other courts, 
succeeded in obtaining a share of the booty for 
Prussia, in order to preserve the balance of power. 
He aiTanged the conditions for the partition of 
this unfortunate country, and Frederic said to him 
on his return : — 

" A god must have inspired you, my dear 
brother ! you have acted admired^ly/' 

The prince acquired an extraordinary influence 
over the Empress Catherine, and conceived the 
project of cementing the alliance between the two 
crowns by the marriage of the Grand-duke Paul 
with the Princess Dorothea of Wurtemberg-Mont- 
beliard, grandniece to the great Frederick. The 
grand-duchess, first wife of the Grand-duke Paul, 
princess of Hesse-Darmstadt, died this year (1776), 
whilst Prince Henry was at St. Petersburg. As 
she left no children, the czarina was anxious that 
her son should marry soon again. She happened 



THE BAROXESS d'oBERKIRCH. 99 

to speak of this to Prince Henry, who immediately 
proposed the Princess Dorothea. Catherine was 
pleased with the idea. The affair proceeded 
quickly ; it was agreed that the Grand-duke Paul 
Petrowitz should set out for Berlin accompanied 
by Prince Henry. It was arranged that the mar- 
riage should take place in the Prussian capital, in 
order that the prince might receive his bride from 
the hands of the great Frederick. Prince Henry 
made what may be considered a triumphal entry 
into Berlin, the alliance which he had negotiated 
being the assured pledge of peace. 

Things were in this state when I arrived at 
Etupes. The princess was about to set off with 
her august father. She was in high delight. As 
soon as she saw me, she flung her arms about my 
neck and kissed me several times. 

" Lanele !" cried she, " I am very sorry to leave 
you all, but I am the happiest princess in the 
world. You must come to see me/' 

For my part, I wept, and the tears of the duchess 
flowed with mine. The splendour of the alliance 
did not hide from her the sorrows of separation. 

" And besides,'' said she, " terrible misfortunes 
sometimes befal the czars; and who knows what 
fate heaven has decreed for my poor child !" 

Happily she was mistaken ; her maternal in- 
stinct was here at fault. 

h2 



100 MEMOIRS OF 

Our days and our evenings passed in conjectures 
and in projects. We could not sleep. The Princess 
Dorothea mimicked court ceremonies, which made 
us laugh in spite of ourselves. She saluted all the 
empty fauteuils, to practise, as she said, being 
gracious, taking care, however, that none should 
receive more or less than its due share of royal 
condescension. Sometimes she stopped suddenly 
in the midst of her sport, and said, turning to me, 

" I am very much afraid of Catherine ; she will 
terrify me, I am sure, and T will appear to her a 
great fool. Oh ! if I could only succeed in pleas- 
ino^ her and the mrand-duke."' 

The Princess Dorothea, born in 1759, was then 
seventeen years of age. She was beautiful as 
Aurora; of that majestic stature which sculptors 
love to imitate, combining with a delicate regu- 
larity of features the most noble and imposing 
grace. Hers was indeed a regal beauty. She took 
an infantine pleasure in talking of her marriage. 
However, during the last days of her stay amongst 
us, the shades of sorrow began to gather round her 
when she reflected that she was about to leave her 
mother ; to quit the country where she had been 
brought up ; this castle, where she had been so 
happy ; her brothers, me, all, even the people of 
tho country about were included in her regret. At 
the moment of departure it was necessary almost 



THE BAROXESS d'OBERKIRCH. 101 

to tear tier from our arms ; she was borne, faint- 
ing, to her carriage, where she was received hy 
her father and two waiting-women. I had pro- 
mised to remain with the duchess during the first 
moments of her sorrow, and I wrote to M. d'Ober- 
kirch, praying him to join me, which he did not 
delay a moment to do. He made a most favour- 
able impression at Etupes, particularly on the 
duchess, who frequently said to me, 

" I would only ask of heaven to see my daughter 
as happily married as you/' 

How sad and dreary did this palace and these 
gardens now appear to me, where I no longer 
found my tender and illustrious friend ! I walked 
about all day with her poor mother, seeking sor- 
rowfully her favourite spots, where we lingered and 
spoke of the dear absent one. Her praise was for 
us an inexhaustible theme. She wrote every day 
to the duchess, always adding a few words for me, 
but she had promised to give me an account of the 
interview which was to take place on the 26th 
July. She kept her word. Here is her letter : — 

"Berlin, 2Gth July 1776. 
" My very dearest Friend, 

" I am satisfied, and more than satisfied. My 
dear friend, I could not possibly be more so. The 
grand- duke is exceedingly amiable : he possesses 



102 MEMOIRS OF 

every charm. He arrived on the 21st, and on the 
25th Prince Henry demanded a formal interview. 
I got precedence of all the princesses and royal 
duchesses. I dare flatter myself that I will be 
loved by my dear betrothed, a thought which ren- 
ders me very, very happy. 1 cannot tell you more 
at present, for the courier that my beloved j^apa is 
sending to Stuttgard sets off this moment, so I 
must give him this letter, that he may put it in the 
post at Cassel. Adieu, cJiere mnie, 1 am in heart 
and soul your tender and faithful friend, 

" Dorothea.'' 

State reasons are often very severe, and one 
needs a great deal of courage to submit to them 
with a good grace. The Princess Dorothea, on 
marrying the grand-duke, was obliged to embrace 
the Greek religion, and was rebaptized as Marie 
Foedero^\ma, as every one knows. She must have 
felt this very deeply ; she who was so attached to 
our holy religion, and so sincerely devoted to her 
duty. I bewailed this circumstance in the depth 
of my soul; but it was of unavoidable necessity, 
and God will, I hope, call her to the truth before 
the close of her life, spite of her left-handed sign 
of the cross and her worship of images. 

The nuptials were celebrated with the greatest 
magnificence, and formed the universal theme of 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 103 

conversation throughout Europe. The newspapers 
were filled with details of all kinds, which we ex- 
tracted. The affectionate heart of the princess 
could not perfectly enjoy her happiness far from 
her dear mother, whom she prayed so earnestly to 
come, that at length the duchess set out, accompa- 
nied by some ladies of her court. I would certainly 
have gone with her, had not the delicacy of my 
health prevented the possibility of undertaking so 
long a journey, nor would M. d'Oberkirch listen to 
such a proposition — to risk the safety of his heir ! 
My dear princess did not forget me, and in the 
midst of the embarrassments of etiquette and of 
visits, wrote me these few lines from Marienwercler, 
18th August 1776: — 

" My dear and charming Lanele, I have only 
two minutes to myself — I will bestow them upon 
you, to let you know that we arrived here happily, 
that we are well, and that we all love you very 
much, particularly I, who am ever your tender 
and faithful friend, 

" Dorothea, P. de M. W. 

" How is your health, my dear friend ? tell me 
all about it in your next letter. Papa, and mamma, 
and all the ladies send you a thousand compli- 
ments.'' 



104 MEMOIRS OF 

The marriage took place on the 7tli (13th) October 
the same year. The princess became thus grand- 
duchess of Russia and reigning duchess of Schles- 
wig-Holstein ; the Czar Peter III. having been 
duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and his son having in- 
herited this duchy. 

Whilst yet in the first flush of her joy, the grand- 
duchess set out for St. Petersburg: with her hus- 
band. She was as happy as it is possible to be on 
this earth ; nothing was wanting to complete her 
felicity, for she possessed the power of doing good. 
And she did good —a great deal of good — and was 
not less beloved in the new country to which she 
went than she had been at Montbeliard. Ever 
kind, she did not forget our friendship. I received 
from her a charming epistle, dated 16th (27th) 
December 1776, St. Petersburg : — 

" My very good, very dear, and very tender Friend, 

" I have just this instant received your letter, 
dated Strasburg, my angel, and I hasten to reply, 
though I have only a couple of minutes to my- 
self Knowing the friendship and attachment 
that you bear my dear parents, I am convinced of 
the sorrow you must have felt at parting from 
them. Still, spite of that, you are happier than I, 
for, after your confinement, I hope that you will 



THE BAROXESS d'oBERKIRCH. 105 

return to them ; but I, unfortunately, can never 
look forward to a like happiness. Whenever 
this thought passes my mind I become sad and 
melancholy for the rest of the day. But, lapng 
this topic aside, let us talk of yourself, my dear 
friend. Thank heaven, that notwithstanding the 
state you are in, you enjoy good health. I offer 
a thousand and a thousand prayers that you may 
get happily through this approaching sickness, and 
that my dear friend may be soon out of danger. 
As during the time of your illness, my dear angel, 
you dare not write yourself, pray let me hear of 
you through one of your friends. Provided that I 
know how you are, and how all is going on, I will 
be satisfied. Your dear portrait is placed in one of 
my rooms, but I do not think it a good likeness ; I 
pray you, as a favour, to get me a better. You 
should long since have had mine, were it not that 
of five that were painted only one was tolerable. 
This I sent to my brother Eugene ; but I am 
about to sit to another painter, who, I hope, will 
succeed better, and then I will send it to you. 
The tea shall not be forgotten. I hope that by this 
time you have received the heart, with my initials, 
which I ventured to send you. Adieu, my dear 
love, I embrace you a thousand times. If my little 
godson or my little god-daughter is born, give it a 
kiss in the name of its godmother. I am, ever 



106 MEMOIRS OF 

dear and beloved amie, your tender faithful 
friend, 

" Marie, 

" Grand-cluchess of Russia, 

" ?i<?e Princess of Wurtembero-. 

" P.S. The grand-duke, who is the most adora- 
ble of husbands, sends you his compliments. I am 
very glad that you do not know him, for you could 
not help adoring and loving him, and I should 
then be jealous. This dear husband is an angel, 
and I love him to distraction." 

The princess of Montb^liard had taken leave of 
her daughter immediately after her marriage ; I 
returned to Montbeliard to receive and console her 
in the first moments of loneliness. As it was ex- 
pected that the birth of my child would soon occur, 
M. d'Oberkirch wished that I would return to 
Strasburs: at the end of November. 

The Duke Frederick Eugene, who had conducted 
the Princess Dorothea as far as Memel, returned 
on the 18th October. He related a thousand 
charming traits of our dear absent one : how one 
morning she saw from her mndow a holly-tree 
covered with its red fruit. She began to cry, 
thinking of one evening at Etuj^es when she and I 
had worn holly-berries in our hair. There was that 



THE BAROXESS d'oBERKIRCH. 107 

day a grand reception ; she sent for some liolly, 
and ordered a coiffure like to that which we had 
both worn, and when in the midst of all her cour- 
tiers she said to her father — 

" Now, sir, do you not think me very handsome ? 
Do not forget to tell my dear Lanele, that I have 
worn holly in memory of our friendship, and 
of the beautiful bouquets that she and I made 
together/' 

I was moved even to tears at this anecdote : it 
is in little things that love reveals itself 

On my return to Strasburg, I found there an 
agreeable surprise. M. Wieland, to whom M. 
Gothe had spoken of me, sent me some numbers 
of a journal in which he used to write very striking 
articles. Formerly a very distinguished professor 
at the university of Erfurt, he had some time since 
taken up his abode at Weimar, in order to super- 
intend the education of the young prince. He 
was scarcely forty years of age, and the refinement 
and elegance which were the distinguishing cha- 
racteristics of his genius seemed to increase every 
day. I wrote him a polite letter, with which, as it 
appears, he was pleased. Here is his reply : — 

" Weimar, 12th September 1776. 
" The extreme kindness with which your grace 
has deigned to assure me that you were not 



108 MEMOIRS OF 

offended at the liberty that I had taken in sending 
you some numbers of the ' German Mercury/ gives 
me an opportunity of assuring your grace that I 
cannot find terms adequate to expressing my 
gratitude. How much, madam, do I envy my 
friend the privilege of knowing you personally, and 
of being known to you ! Should I ever enjoy this 
rare happiness, I may then perhaps hope that your 
grace will deign to accord to the man the esteem 
that through generosity, and not through justice, 
you grant to the author. Permit me, honoured 
madam, to say with grateful respect that I am 
your grace's 

" Obedient servant and subject, 

" WlELAND.^' 

I have always admired persons of genius ; and 
had I possessed a larger fortune, I would have 
willingly played the part' of Maecenas. I have, 
however, as far as was in my power, sought out 
persons of talent, as will be seen in the course of 
these memoirs. 



THE BAROXESS d'oBERKIRCH. ] 09 



CHAPTER V. 

Birth of my daughter — Her illustrious godfathers and 
godmothers — Disappointment of M. d'Oberkirch — 
Letter from the grand-duchess of Russia — Another 
letter from her — The Emperor Joseph II. at Stuttgard — 
Jest of Duke Charles — Naivete of the marshal of the 
Court — Fief of Falkenstein — The postiUion prince — 
Joseph II. at Strasburg — M. de Vogne -Description of 
the emperor — His dress — Market-woman — Verses — 
Disappointment of Voltaire — The executioner of Colmar 
— Gag — Execution — Mademoiselle Heizelberg, a singer — 
Birth of Alexander Paulowitz. 

1777. — On Thursday, the 28rd of January, be- 
tween three and four in the morning, my daughter 
was born. She was baptized on the Saturday 
following in the new church, where she received 
the names of Mary Philippina Frederica Dorothea 
Frances. Her illustrious godmothers and god- 
fathers were — 

1. H.I.H. the august Princess Mary Fcede- 
rowna, by marriage grand-duchess of Russia, 
reigning duchess of Schleswig-Holstein, nee duchess 
of Wurtemberg-Stuttgard, represented by the 
baroness of Palen, nee Durckheim. 

2. H.R.H. the Princess Philippina Augusta 



110 MEMOIRS OF 

Amelia, wife of the reigning landgrave of Hesse- 
Cassel, nee marchioness of Brandenburg-Schwadt, 
re23resented by the Baroness Hahn, nee Lieven. 

3. His highness Frederick Eugene, duke of 
Wurtemberg-Stuttgard, lieutenant-general of the 
Prussian royal cavalry, and general of cavalry in 
the circle of Suabia, and his wife, nee margravine 
of Brandenburg-Schwadt, represented by my father 
Baron Waldner, and by the dowager baroness of 
Bernhold, nee de Wurmser Vendenheim. 

The godfathers and godmothers present were — 

Baron Dagobert of Wurmser Vendenheim, 
grand huntsman to the comte of Montbeliard. 

The Baron Frederick Wurmser, colonel of 
infantry (afterwards made brigadier in 1780). 

Baron Berekheim, Lebaheim, Schoppenwyr, and 
the dowager Baroness d'Oberkirch, nee, Baroness 
Buch. 

M. d'Oberkirch was greatly disappointed by 
the birth of this daughter, having been extremely 
anxious to have a son. He took so little care to 
conceal his feelings on this subject during the 
first days of my illness, that I became very un- 
happy, and could not prevent myself from weep- 
ing constantly, though I feared that it would be 
bad for my health. As for me, I loved my child 
because it was mine ; it was the instinct of a 
mother. However, to wish for a son was very na- 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. Ill 

tural in M. d'Oberkirch, as the possessions ot 
Oberkirch were a male fief, and would, in failure 
of heirs-male in the elder branch, descend to the 
second brother and his children. He never be- 
came reconciled to his disappointment ; and if, 
when he was not in very good humour, any person 
spoke to him of his child, he would say, " I have 
no child, I have only a daughter/' My daughter 
Mary heard him repeat this one day, and did not 
appear much flattered by such a proof of paternal 
affection. 

In some days after the birth of the child, when 
he had recovered from the first shock, and his dis- 
content a little abated, he behaved with more 
politeness. One day he came into my room just 
as the nurse had brought in the baby. I was 
lying on a sofa very much fatigued from receiving 
visits, and having kissed Mary, I said that I would 
go to sleep. As M. d'Oberkirch approached our 
child, I fancied that she smiled (if she did it was at 
the angels) ; but to my imagination it was a proof of 
an intelligence which it would have been impossi- 
ble for her to have possessed so young. 

" Mademoiselle d'Oberkirch is a pretty baby,'' 
said my husband, looking at her. 

" You have discovered that at last," said I, a 
little piqued ; " and do you think that a great boy 
would be half so charming as this lovely little girl V 



112 MEMOIRS OF 

He sighed, but took the hand of his daughter, 
and, after holding it for some moments, kissed it. 

" You will love her yet,'' said I, " and you will 
forgive the disappointment she has caused you ; 
besides, I promise you that I will bring her up so 
that no young lady shall excel her." He said no- 
thing, but made a sign to the nurse to retire, and, 
coming over to me, said as he drew me towards 
him, " Will you forgive my ill-humour and un- 
kindness ?" 

We remained talking for a quarter of an hour in 
the. most confiding and affectionate manner. I felt 
convinced that he would conquer his regTet, and I 
went to sleep, feeling more tranquil than I had 
done for some time. 

My dear princess wrote me the following affec- 
tionate letter on this occasion : — 

" 1777. — My most charming and amiable friend, 
your two letters have caused me the greatest joy. 
Imagine what pleasure could equal mine when I read 
that, thanks to the divine and adorable Providence, 
your child was born, and that you and your charm- 
ing baby were both well. I was deeply moved by 
your thoughtfulness, my dearest love, in writing 
yourself, and I Avill keep for ever the charming 
letter, which is so strong a proof of your love for 
me Embrace my god-daughter for me. I feel 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 118 

an affection for her already that it would be impos- 
sible to express to you. Yes, my dear friend, I 
can say with truth that I love you as a sister ; no 
one could feel more affection for a friend than I 
feel for you. I beg of you to send me your like- 
ness in miniature, that 1 may wear it with my 
watch, and never be separated from it. I will send 
you mine in a fortnight. My husband desires me 
to send you his compliments and congratulations. 
To amuse you, my love, I must tell you of a constant 
jest of the grand-duke. He hears me speak so much 
and so often of my dear friend Oberkirch, that to 
vary it a little, he calls you Zuckerbacker, and every 
post-day asks me if I have heard from Madame 
Zuckerbacker. I wish you knew this adorable 
husband of mine ; he is an angel ; he is the pearl of 
husbands ; and I am, thank God, perfectly happy. 
I tell you this constantly, but I feel that your 
affection will never weary of hearing of my happi- 
ness. But you are ill, and cannot bear much 
fatigue, I must, therefore, however unwilling, finish 
my letter, and believe me when I say that nothing 
shall ever lessen my affection for you. 

" Your affectionate and faithful friend, 

(Signed) " Mary of Eussia, 

" nee de Wurtemberg.'"' 

How ungTateful it would be of me, if I did not 
VOL. I. I 



114 MEMOIRS OF 

repay with respect and tenderness tlie affection 
with which this illustrious princess honoured me. 
She ^vrote to me constantly during my con- 
valescence, and always with the same tender soli- 
citude. . I will transcribe here another of her 
charming letters : — 

" Czarskomscho, 28th April '78 (8th May.) 

" My dear and beloved Friend, 

"I will not complain of your indolence in 
consideration of your being still somewhat of an 
invalid ; but think, my dear Lanele, that I have 
not heard from you for a fortnight, and how 
wretched it must make me who love you as a 
sister. I beg of you, my dearest friend, to write 
to me soon, very soon ; and tell me again that you 
love me, that you have not forgotten me, that I 
am and shall ever be the chosen friend of your 
heart ; write me this, dear Lanele, and I will be 
content. The grand-duke sends you his compli- 
ments, and desires me to tell you that we wish to 
purchase the picture of Sieur Michel, by Paul 
Veronese, as a present for the empress. The price 
asked is three hundred French louisd'ors. M. de 
Mechilen may send it by either land or water, as 
he pleases, we, of course, paying all expenses ; 
but he must guarantee its safe arrival here. 
When, my love, shall I send you a coloured 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKTRCH. 115 

drawing of this picture ? I believe that I must 
send it by post. And also, my dear friend, tell me 
how much will be the subscription to the great 
undertaking of M. Mechilen, who is making re- 
duced drawings of the paintings of the Dusseldorf 
gallery, and which, if I do not mistake, will be 
coloured like the one you sent to me. Many 
persons here are anxious to subscribe. Here are 
a number of commissions ! Must I not have great 
confidence in the friendship of my dear Lanele, 
when I think of giving her so much trouble ? How 
is my charming little goddaughter ? How much 
pleasure it would give me to see mother and 
daughter, both of whom I love so much. When 
shall I get your portrait ? I am quite impatient 
until I see it. You will receive mine in a few 
days, and I hope that it will recal to your remem- 
brance one who will not feel perfectly happy until 
she can give you an evident proof of how much 
she is, and ever will be, 

" Your affectionate and constant friend, 
(Signed) " Mary of Russia, 

"??ee de Wurtemberg.'' 

'' P.S. I kiss the dust of Madame Hendel's 
shoes. How is Mademoiselle Schneider ? Always 
direct my letters to St. Petersburg, even though I 
should be at Czarskomscho/' 

i2 



116 MEMOIRS OF 

I never lost an opportunity of recommending 
artists to the good graces of the gTand-duchess. 
who had a great admiration for the fine arts, nor 
did I ever hesitate to present petitions in favour of 
the unfortunate, which the goodness of her heart 
seldom allowed her to refuse. Nor was I forgotten 
at Stuttgard ; I received many touching proofs of 
the interest which its princes felt for me, although 
they were at that time so much occupied by a visit 
of the Emperor Joseph II. He was travelling 
under the name of Count Falkenstein (Falken- 
stein is a seigniory accorded by the treaty of 
Ryswick to the duke of Lorraine, grandfather of 
the emperor, together with Monema, Lixen, and 
Commercy). The duke of Wurtemberg wi^ote to 
the emperor, offering him the use of his jDalace 
during his stay at Stuttgard, but his imperial 
majesty declined, saying that he would prefer going 
to a hotel. 

This suggested a very happy stratagem to the 
duke, one in every way worthy of his refined and 
king-like character. He ordered all the hotel- 
keepers of the city to remove their signs, and 
placed over the door of his palace an enormous 
board, emblazoned with the Austrian arms, and 
having these words beneath — 

" The Emperor's Hotel.'' 

Joseph yielded to the touching ingenuity of 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 117 

Duke Charles, and entering into the spirit of the 
jest, alighted at the palace as if it were a hotel. 
(He was on his way to France to visit his sister 
the queen, to see Paris, &c.) The duke received 
him dressed as a hotel-keeper, and played his part 
extremely well. Everybody at the court, no matter 
of what rank, supported some character or other 
suitable to the occasion. The emperor was de- 
lighted. The following day they all laid aside their 
masquerading dresses, and the festivities com- 
menced in reality. The presentation of the ladies 
of the court gave occasion to a very amusing oc- 
currence. 

Madame de * * * * (I cannot remember the 
name) entered the drawing-room as the marshal of 
the court was assigning to each lady the place to 
which her rank entitled her. The marshal, not 
knowing this lady, who was French, approached 
her, sajdng, 

" What is your quality 1" 

Madame de * * * * was surprised, not under- 
standing why she was asked such a question ; but 
she laughed and said, 

" Acariatre '' (sour). 

" Acariatre ?'' repeated the marshal, who did not 
know the meaning of the word : " I do not know 
what rank that is, but it is of no consequence. Sit 
with the countesses.'^ 



118 MEMOIRS OF 

The emperor laughed a great deal when he heard 
this anecdote, and amused himself by frequently 
asking the ladies near him, " Which of you ladies 
would wish to receive the rank of Acaridtre ?" 

The countesses were greatly annoyed, and the 
poor marshal had to bear a great many reproaches 
for the classification he had made. 

The seigniory of Falkenstein, from which the 
emperor had derived his travelling title, is a fief 
near the comte of Bitche, situated between Lor- 
raine and Alsace. At the cession of Lorraine to 
France in 1735, Francis L, at that time grand- 
duke of Tuscany, retained this fief, in order that 
he might remain a member of the Germanic body. 
It formerly belonged to Gerald of Alsace, first duke 
of Lorraine, in 1060. The emperor proved his 
good taste in assuming this name ; it ought to be 
for him a prognostic of happiness. 

He had left Yienna the 1st of April 1777, and 
arrived at Stuttgard without much delay. His re- 
ception, there, as we have seen, was very amusing ; 
his departure was scarcely less so. When the em- 
peror's carriage was brought to the door of the 
palace, one of the horses was mounted by a pos- 
tilion in a very shabby surtout, and boots covered 
with mud. The emperor was attracted by his strange 
appearance, and laughingly remarked, 

" Most certainly that man is not a courtier, or 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 119 

he would have put on his holiday suit. He must 
be a drunkard ; we shall give him something to 
drink our health." 

The postilion showed great agility and address 
in his management of the horses. Joseph II. was 
delighted, and said several times— 

" I wish I had a fellow like that in my stables."" 

When they stopped to change horses, the em- 
peror, "wishing to keep his promise, and to reward 
the person who had amused him so much, asked 
for the postilion, when he was told that he was the 
prince of * * *, and that they were his horses 
that had drawn his majesty's carriage. His im- 
perial majesty thought it an excellent joke, and 
was profuse in his thanks to the prince, who had 
transformed himself into a courier for his conve- 
nience. 

" The imitation was perfect, monsieur,"' said he ; 
*' however, I think I would have detected you if I 
had looked closer ; besides, you did not swear 
enough.'' 

I had the honour of having a closer view of the 
emperor on another occasion, as I will relate here- 
after. This time I only got a glimpse of him at 
the theatre ; I say a glimpse, for under such cir- 
cumstances one cannot see distinctly. His imperial 
majesty passed some days at Strasburg, where, 
on the evening of his arrival he went incognito 



120 MEMOIRS OF 

to see a comedy. He was recognised as lie sat in 
a corner of an upper box, wlien the public enthu- 
siasm immediately manifested itself in thundering 
acclamations. The marquis of Yogne hastened to 
invite the emj)eror to enter his box, where his 
appearance gave occasion to fresh bursts of applause. 
The next day, 10th of August, he reviewed the 
troops on the Place d'Armes. He afterwards 
visited the hospitals, the arsenal, the fortifica- 
tions, the cathedral, and the tomb of Marshal 
Saxe. He was received everywhere with delight 
as the brother of our beloved queen. She tvas 
beloved then ! On the 11th he came again to the 
theatre, where all the nobility appeared in com- 
pliment to him ; I amongst others had taken a 
box for the occasion. I saw there the marquis of 
Voyer, lieutenant-general, commander of Alsace ; 
M. de St. Victor, lieutenant of the king at Stras- 
burg ; the chevalier of St. Mars, commander of 
the artillery regiment of Strasburg ; and many 
other distinguished persons that I cannot remem- 
ber now. The entertainments consisted of some 
necromantic tricks, and the ' Barber of Seville' — 
that corner-stone of the edifice reared against the 
nobility by Beaumarchpds. We all applauded the 
satire pointed against ourselves ; we all approved 
and blessed the weapons that were afterwards to 
wound us. I will speak more at large upon this 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 121 

subject when I come to notice the ' Marriage of 
Figaro;' but I must say that I never could com- 
prehend the conduct of the nobility at that time. 

This is the first time that I speak of the emperor, 
but we will return to him again. He was a strange 
prince, and perhaps little suited for the time in 
which he lived. He wished to combine the past 
and the future, and failed signally in his object. 
He was an enemy to pomp (though a certain degree 
of magnificence is not a fault in a sovereign), and 
always slept on a mattress with the skin of a stag 
for a coverlet. He was very easy of access, and 
always wished to hear the truth without disguise 
or circumlocution ; besides which he was gifted 
with a surprising penetration. 

His usual dress was the uniform of one of his 
regiments — green, with red facings, vest and culotte 
of chamois leather. He sometimes wore only a 
plain cloth coat. I was told in Paris, that a fish- 
woman once, in presenting him with a bouquet, 
said to him very philosophically, — 

" The peoj^le who have to pay for the lace on 
your coats ought to be very happy, M. Count.'' 

Most certainly this woman must have read Kous- 
seau and the entire ' Encyclopsedia.' However, it is 
my opinion that the people of Paris would find 
themselves nicely taken in if the court resolved to 
wear dresses without lace or embroidery. Deprive 



122 MEMOIRS OF 

France, and especially tlie capital, of its luxury, 
and you will deprive it of a large portion of its 
commercial wealth. I will even go further, and 
say that you will deprive it of a great portion of 
its influence in Europe. For I ask, if the fashions 
did not come from Paris, where could they come 
from ? 

When the emperor arrived at Paris, he was 
overwhelmed with addresses, verses, dedications, 
petitions, and every imaginable kind of truth and 
flattery. Here is an impromptu composed by the 
Abbe Delaney on the occasion : — 

Say who is he, in whose mild and courteous mien 
By ev"ry eye a great one bending low is seen 1 
With time and gold thus ever well emplo}'ecl, he 
Reveals his rank, but ne'er demeans his dignity. 

I do not like these verses : in my opinion they 
contain a contradiction. " A great one bending 
low" does not please me, because he then " detneans 
his dignity." I am only a German, but all this 
does not appear to me very correct. 
Here are more verses : — 

Cortege of the Emperor. 

Before his steps Benevolence moves on, 
Beside him modest Virtue holds her i)lace ; 

Close on her steps Humanity is seen. 
Bright Immortahty the close does gi-ace. 

All this is very philosophic for a German emperor. 



THE BARONESS d'obeekiuch. 123 

They talk a great deal of liis answer to a noble- 
man, who one day remarked to him that he min- 
gled too much with the people in the public 
streets : — 

" If I would only mix with my equals/' said he, 
" I should shut myself up with my ancestors in 
the Capuchin convent where their ashes repose/' 

Such reasoning appears to me more specious than 
profound. The living are a study worthy even of an 
emperor, and vast is the field of research opened 
to the philosophic mind in the different phases 
of human life between the throne and the grave. 

The count of Falkenstein left Paris on the 
81st of May 1777. He visited in succession Rouen, 
Dieppe, Havre, Caen, St. Malo, Brest, Saumur, 
Nantes, Tours, Rochelle, Bordeaux, Fontarabia, 
St. Jean de Luz, St. Sebastian, Bayonne, Toulouse, 
Beziers, Montpellier, Marseilles, Toulon, and Lyons. 
He met in the last city the count of Gland (duke 
of Ostrogoth), brother of the king of Sweden. It 
is said that little sympathy existed between these 
two princes. 

On the 12th of July he left Lyons for Vienna, 
passing through Switzerland and Fribourg, in 
BrisQfaa. At Geneva he received a visit from 
M. Saussure, professor of natural philosophy, who 
made many electrical experiments before him, and 
then set out for Basle. 



124 MEMOIRS OF 

M. Voltaire did not think that the royal philo- 
sopher would have passed so near his retreat 
without paying him a visit ; but Voltaire did not 
know Joseph II. He thought he resembled him- 
self in this love for honours and observance of 
etiquette, and made immense preparations for this 
expected visit, wishing apj^arently to express in 
another form his celebrated inscription on the 
village church — " Voltaire to God/' Perhaps this 
time he wished to say — " Voltaire to the Emperor," 
in order to put on the same footing with respect to 
him, the powers of heaven and earth. Joseph 
smelled this academic seance and passed on, 
although his carriage almost touched the terrace of 
the chateau. The postilions, who had been bribed, 
repeated at every crack of the whip — 

" That is the chateau of Ferney — there is M. Vol- 
taire." The count of Falkenstein would not hear, 
and only looked to the other side. M. de Voltaire 
was in despair, and put a thousand stories in cir- 
culation to console his self-love. He said that his 
maj esty had been very much annoyed by a Genevese 
officer, who had the indiscreet curiosity to follow 
his carriage on horseback for four leagues, and 
nothing that the emperor could do would induce 
him to retire. , 

The emperor arrived at Schonbrunn on the 1st 
of August, and in a little time after began to make 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 125 

preparations for a second journey. A short while 
after his imperial majesty had passed through 
Colmar, a mysterious occurrence took place in that 
town which threw all Alsace into a ferment. 

On the 7th of May 1777 the public executioner 
of Colmar was imprisoned for having left the town 
without the permission of the authorities ; he was 
several times brought up for examination before 
the magistrates, and here is the account that he 
gave of his absence : — He said that one evening at 
the end of April he was alone in his house (his wife 
and assistants being out), occupied in some duty of 
his office, such as repairing handcuffs, or putting a 
gibbet together, when he heard a loud knock at the 
door. He opened without hesitation (an executioner 
could scarcely be timid !), expecting some messenger 
from the magistrates ; no other person ever visiting 
his condemned dwelling. Instead of the familiar 
form that he expected, he saw before him three men 
enveloped in cloaks, whilst a carriage slowly ad- 
vanced surrounded by six or seven others. The 
executioner saw all this at a glance, he was astonished 
but not frightened. 

" You are the public executioner V said one of 
the strangers. 

" Yes, monsieur.'"' 

" Are you alone ? We wish to speak to you in 
private,'' 



126 MEMOIRS OF 

" I am quite alone ; will you walk in, gentlemen V 
He thought that they were messengers from 
some neighbouring tribunal, and drew back to let 
them enter the house. But he had scarcely finished 
speaking, when these men sprang on him, gagged 
him, bound him hand and foot, so that he could 
not move a single limb, and placed him in the 
carriage. The three men whom he had seen first 
got in also, whilst the others mounted their horses 
and all set off at full speed. They preserved the 
most profound silence whilst they were passing 
through the town, but as soon as the smoothness 
of the w^ay would allow their voices to be heard, 
the man who had first addressed him touched the 
arm of the executioner and said — 

" Listen to me ; you have nothing to fear, }'0U 
will receive no hurt. You are only required 
to perform an act of justice ; and we will an- 
swer for your safety, provided that you do not 
attempt to escape, or try to penetrate a mystery 
with which it is not necessary that you should be 
fully acquainted. No question of yours will be 
answered ; everything that you require will be given 
to you ; and when your task will be accomplished 
you shall be brought back to your home, and will 
get two hundred louis as a compensation for your 
trouble.'" 

The executioner breathed more freely after he 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 127 

was told that his life would be spared, though he 
still suffered extremely, not being able to move his 
limbs. 

" I am going to remove the bonds and gag/' said 
the same voice, " and you will no longer be sub- 
jected to any personal restraint, except a bandage 
which will be placed over your eyes during the day 
and removed at night ; but this is only on condi- 
tion that you are perfectly obedient, and do not 
speak. At the first cry you dare to utter you are 
a dead man." 

He felt the muzzles of two pistols and the point 
of a poignard touch his breast, which easily con- 
vinced him he had no choice but to submit impli- 
citly ; and as soon as his mouth was free, and that 
he got permission to speak, he swore with a thou- 
sand oaths that he would obey them in all things, 
and would abide by the conditions they imposed 
on him. 

" In that case,'' said the same person, " you have 
nothing to fear." 

From this moment not a word was spoken. 
They often changed horses, but always in some 
very retired place, where they always appeared to 
be expected. Although the blinds of the carriage 
were firmly closed, his eyes were bandaged at the 
first appearance of day, and the same menaces re- 
peated in case he should attempt to discover in 



128 MEMOIRS OF 

what part of the country he was. He was other- 
wise well treated ; they gave him a share of their 
provisions and wine, Avhich were both excellent. 
They sometimes alighted, but always in a forest, or 
some bv-place where thev would run little risk of 
being remarked by passers-by. This continued for 
two days : it appeared to the poor executioner that 
during this time they had crossed the Rhine, and 
ascended several mountains. On the evening of 
the second da}', after they had been ascending a 
rising ground for some time, the carriage stopped. 
He heard a drawbridge descend, and he knew from 
the sound of the wheels that they crossed a deep 
moat. Although it was perfectly dark, the ban- 
dage was again placed upon his eyes ; whilst they 
entered, as it apjoeared to him, into a large court- 
yard. The door of the carriage was ojDened, and 
two men, taking the executioner by the arms, led 
him up several steps. He heard around him sounds, 
as if several battle-axes or muskets were laid upon 
the ground. 

" Come along," said a strange voice, for he had 
stopped, as if hesitating for a moment. 

" Remember your promise,'' whispered his tra- 
velling companion, " and we will not forget ours.'" 

It then seemed to him that he entered a large 
vestibule, then crossed several vast, dark rooms, 
which he was certain were all vaulted, and at last 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 129 

he was led into a large saloon, where the bandage 
was taken from his eyes. The walls were all hung 
with black, and a few torches cast a dim sepulchral 
light over the apartment. Ten men, in magisterial 
robes, were seated at some distance from him, and 
though they were unmasked, the light was so faint 
that he could not distinguish their features. All 
the inferior actors in this drama stood around, with 
crape upon their faces. 

Immediately after the executioner had entered 
this apparent hall of judgment, a door in the oppo- 
site wall was flung open, and two men appeared, 
leading a lady, whose face was concealed by a long 
veil. She was tall, slight, and evidently young, 
and wore a long and flowing dress of violet velvet. 
She was placed in the centre of this boding circle, 
where she stood erect, calm, and motionless, her 
hands folded and covered by the long and graceful 
sleeves of her dress. All were profoundly silent, 
and he who seemed of most authority amongst 
them rose, and addressing the executioner in Ger- 
man (which all the Alsatians understand), said — 

" You have been brought here to inflict in 
secret the merited punishment of a secret crime. 
You will behead this woman, who, though un- 
answerable to a public tribunal, is stained with 
unpardonable guilt." 

The executioner — all executioner as he was — was 

VOL. I. K 



130 MEMOIRS OF 

an honest man. He would unliesitatingiy put 
people to death by the orders of the magistrates of 
Colmar, and a mandate signed by them, sealed 
with the great corporate seal and the fleur-de-lis, 
reviewed by the king's commissioners, and regis- 
tered in the records of the town ; but this was 
quite another affair — nothing better than an assas- 
sination, for how could he know what right these 
men had to exercise the authority of legal judges 
when their very faces were a mystery to him ? After 
a few moments' reflection, he summoned sufficient 
courage to say, with an unhesitating voice — 

'■ I cannot obey you \" 

All round he heard swords dra\Mi from their 
scabbards, from which he suspected that these 
magistrates were not quite so pacific as would be 
suitable to their ofiice. He looked at the lady ; 
there she stood in the same position, apparently 
calm and undisturbed, as if these proceedings had 
no interest for her. 

" You have promised obedience to our com- 
mands," said the voice of the man who had brought 
him ; " and you mil feel the weight of our ven- 
geance if you do not keep your word.'' 

" When I promised, it was under the imj^ression 
that your proceedings would be legal, though 
secret. I am not an assassin ; and, gentlemen, 
whoever you may be, I refuse to execute your 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 131 

orders ; I will not touch a hair of that woman's 
head. Besides, what crime has she committed V 

The president looked at his colleagues, as if to 
get their opinion ; and then, rising quickly, said in 
a voice of thunder : 

"You ask what crime this woman has com- 
mitted ! Listen, and you shall hear ; and the 
horror of the tale will nerve your arm to inflict on 
her a punishment which is however unequal to her 
guilt. This woman " 

"Enough," said the lady, stretching forth her 
hand, " enough. You may deprive me of life ; but 
you may not, you ought not, reveal to a man like 
that, the secret that your ears have heard. If I 
am guilty, punish me, I submit ; and that is more 
than 3^ou have a right to expect/' 

This altercation was succeeded by a solemn 
deathlike silence, only interrupted by the mono- 
tonous ticking of a large clock covered by the 
gloomy hangings. Eleven struck. 

" There is not a moment to be lost,'' said the 
president, "obey." 

A large sharp sword was presented to him, like 
those used by executioners in Switzerland. 

" No," said he, " no ; put her to death yourself 
You are an illegal judge, and you may as Avell be 
an illegal executioner." 

During this the condemned did not stir. 

k2 



132 MEMOIRS OF 

" Listen," said the first speaker ; " do you value 
your life ?" 

"Yes, for the sake of mv wife and little 
daughter, whose sole support I am/' 

" Very good^ decide then ; if you have not be- 
headed this woman before the quarter strikes, I 
will send a bullet through your head/' 

"Why not kill her yourself? it would be as 
little crime as to kill me/' 

The judge trembled under his long robe ; but, 
commanding himself, he said coldly — 

" Decide/' 

The executioner had resisted with great firm- 
ness, but, courageous as he was, he at length began 
to feel afraid, but still resolved to preserve an 
undaunted air. Every stroke of the pendulum 
was agony to the poor man, who in a few minutes 
would be called upon to decide between giiilt or 
death. A mournful silence reigned through the 
hall, not a finger stured. The executioner began 
to pray ; he besought the Virgin and all the saints 
to intercede for him (he was a Catholic). At the 
conclusion of his prayer, he cried out : 

" Kill me if you will, I will not obey." 

" You have ten minutes still," coolly replied the 
judge. 

All was again silent ; the pendulum alone was 
heard, with its inflexible vibrations measuring life 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 133 

with equal impartiality to the happy and the 
wretched. And she, the unhappy subject of this 
tragedy, for whom, in a few minutes, eternity was 
to open, stood there immovable as a statue. Was 
it innocence or insensibility that thus steeled her 
human feelings, and enabled her to meet so 
calmly all the horrors of a violent death ? 

The quarter struck. At a signal from the 
president, two assistants advanced towards the 
executioner, and again presented the sword to 
him ; he shook his head, and pushed it aside with 
his hand, but was unable to utter a word. The 
president cocked his pistol ; the wretched man did 
not know what to do. 

" My God !" thought he, " must I leave my wife 
a widow, and my child an orphan V 

Whether it was this thought that influenced 
him, or that his power of resistance sunk before 
the arm stretched out against his life, I know not, 
but he cried in a stifled voice — 

" I consent — I consent I" 

He took the sword, and, having tried its edge, 
stepped forward. 

The lady remained standing. 

^' Will you not let her see a priest ?" said he, 
stopping suddenly. 

" Do you perform your office, and do not trouble 
yourself with anything else/' 



134 MEMOIRS OF 

"• The lady must be bound/' said he. 

" / bound ! " she cried, in a disdainful tone. 

"Bind that woman's hands/' said the mono- 
tonous voice of the judge. 

Two men advanced towards her ; she drew her- 
self up to her full height. 

" You dare not !" said she. 

These words seemed to deter the two servants, 
or the persons who had assumed their functions. 

" I must be obeyed !" said the president. 

She was immediately bound to a block, and her 
veil raised as far as the throat. She made no 
further resistance, but resumed her former immo- 
bility. 

" Strike ! or — " cried the judge, presenting a 
pistol charged to the very mouth. 

The executioner, excited either by fear, or that 
intoxication which it is said sometimes influences 
people in time of imminent danger, raised the SAvord, 
and at one blow severed the head from the trunk ; 
and then he, the man of iron nerves, who during 
twenty years had been shedding human blood, as 
the minister of human justice, sank fainting on the 
ground beside the victim he had sacrificed. 

When he recovered his senses he found himself 
again in the carriage, his eyes bandaged, and a 
cloak wound round him to conceal his blood- 
stained garments. 



THE BAROXESS D'oBERKIRCH. 135 

When his companions perceived that he was 
recovered, one of them handed him a purse, saying, 

" Here is your reward ; it is double what you 
were promised, in consideration of your con- 
scientious conduct." 

Their journey back was performed with the same 
precautions as the former one, and at the end of 
the fourth day he was set free on the banks of the 
111, in a meadow near his house. He found his 
wife very anxious, and the magistrates furious. 

All that I have written is copied almost exactly 
from his depositions, which we read in Strasburg, 
at the residence of the lieutenant-general, who 
gave me permission to transcribe them. 

The magistrates of Colmar made every exertion 
to discover the persons concerned in this melan- 
choly history ; but in vain. Nothing more was 
ever heard. 

I was in the habit of keeping a journal, in which 
I noticed important events, or any interesting cir- 
cumstance which I desired to remember, and 
from its pages I often now refresh my memory. 
About this time I find that I was present at a 
concert given by a German singer. Mademoiselle 
Hizelberg, before she went to Paris. She is prima 
cantatrice of the prince bishop of Franconia. I 
know not what was thought of her elsewhere, but 
she excited little enthusiasm at Strasburg. There 



136 MEMOIRS OF 

were, however, a good many persons at her concert ; 
and I remember very well that the most fashion- 
able ladies present wore hats turned up with 
feathers a la Henri IV. I was in very good spirits, 
for I had heard that morning (20th December 
1777) of the birth of Alexander Paulowitz, eldest 
son of my dear princess, and, that she, whom I 
loved so well, was in very good health. 

1778. — From amongst the many letters I re- 
ceived from my illustrious friend, I will transcribe 
one here which shows how great an influence her 
affection exerted over her husband, and which in- 
duced him to participate in her friendship for me. 

" Czarkosnello, 28th April 1778 (9th May). 

" My best and dearest friend, Lanele, 

" It would be impossible to describe to you 
how much pleasure your charming letter of the 
15th April has given me, and how delighted and 
flattered I was to perceive that you still loved me, 
and that neither time nor absence had in the least 
diminished your affection. I embrace you a thou- 
sand times in gratitude for the sentiments you 
express for me, dear Lanele, and can sincerely as- 
sure you that I feel equal affection for you, ' und 
dass ich Lanele von ganzem Herzen liebe.'* You 
have not mentioned a letter of mine in which I 

* And that I love Lanele with all my heart. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. ] 37 

spoke of young M. Hahn, and I fear that it has 
been lost ; and, therefore, I will again tell you what 
I have been able to do for him. The grand-duke 
offers to receive him into his own regiment, on 
condition that he accepts a lower grade than he 
holds at present. This is a custom in this country 
when a stranger enters the service. He will be 
supernumerary for some time, but the grand-duke 
promises, if he conducts himself well and likes 
the service, that he will insure his promotion/' 

(The following lines are written by H.I.H. the 
Grand-duke Paul.) 

'' Madam, 

"The friendship that exists between you and 
my wife will be, I am sure, siifficient excuse for 
the liberty I take in addressing you ; and I beg 
you to believe that I fully participate in her 
sentiments for you, of which I would be very 
happy to have an opportunity of giving you a 
more evident proof 

" I remain most a^ffectionately yours, 

(Signed) " Paul." 

The grand-duchess continues : — 

" The grand-duke came unto my room, and 
asked me to whom I was writing. I replied, ' To 
Lanele." ' To Lanele/ said he, and immediately 



138 MEMOIRS OF 

took away my pen and paper to write a few lines 
to you himself. I did not prevent liim, knowing 
that it would give you pleasure, but waited 
patiently until he had finished, and that it was 
again my turn. 

"Adieu, dear friend, write often to me, and 
always believe me your affectionate and faithful 
friend. 

(Signed) " Maey." 

From this it may be seen that I had again recom 
mended a person to the princess. I never lost an 
opportunity of doing so, and very rarely was re- 
fused. The pleasure I received from these letters 
may be easily conceived. My respectful affection 
for this beloved princess was one of the most pro- 
found sentiments of my heart. I was just then re- 
covered from a severe illness, and M. d'Oberkirch 
celebrated my convalescence by giving a large 
dinner party, at which were present, besides our 
own family, several persons of distinction, amongst 
others, M. d'Aumont, "commander of the Genevese 
brigade, a man of intelligence and extensive in- 
formation. He was a great favourite of ours, and 
we invited him constantly to our house. We had 
besides baron de Lort, marechal-de-camp and 
lieutenant of the king at Strasburg ; Baron 
Flachsland, nephew of the dowager Berekheim, 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 189 

who liad been appointed brigadier in the royal 
army the same day as my uncle, the commander 
de Waldner, whom he has since succeeded as 
colonel of the Bouillon regiment. There are two 
branches of the Flachsland family, one in Upper 
Alsace, though not reckoned amongst the nobility 
of that place ; the other resides at Saverne in 
Lower Alsace, and are seigniors of Schaffhausen 
and of Markenheim. M. de Flachsland is in every 
way a distinguished man, to which his imposing 
air and military bearing are no slight addition. 
He very often dined with us. 

Almost immediately after dinner we went to 
visit my uncle, who had just arrived from Landau, 
where his regiment of Waldner-Suisse was gar- 
risoned. He had brought with him several officers 
— M. de Chateauvieux, lieutenant-colonel ; M. de 
Wech, major ; baron de Roll, Count Parivicini, 
Baron Thurn, captains ; M. de Reizel, lieutenant 
and knight of St. Louis. He received a great deal 
of society at Ollwillon, where he lived in great style, 
keeping, as I may say, open house. His horses, 
carriages, in fact, everjrthing about him, proclaimed 
the Grand Seigneur. 

Every Sunday after parade. Prince Max de Deux 
Ponts, colonel of the Alsatian regiment, set out for 
Ollwillon, accompanied by several of his officers, and 
remained there until Monday. All the resident 



1-iO MEMOIRS OF 

nobility were invited to meet liim, and the festivi- 
ties were on a more than usually extensive scale. 
They had the reputation of pla}dng very high on 
these occasions. Prince Max is very extravagant : 
the king, Louis XYI., has paid his debts, but he is 
constantly contracting new ones. He is what is called 
a hon vivant, delighting in hunting and the plea- 
sures of the table ; and scandal says, a frequenter 
of the society of the filles cU opera. His manners, 
however, are dignified and elegant, equally suited 
for a court or a private drawing-room. He pos- 
sesses a most amusing talent for relating ludicrous 
stories. The Monday we passed in his company 
he was in his happiest vein ; he mimicked every 
celebrated person, actors, literary men, &c. ; 
amongst others, M. de Voltaire, who was then only 
a few months dead. He knew every amusing 
anecdote, the histories of the most celebrated 
actresses, and the genealogies of their lovers, all 
which he related in a manner that would not 
wound the most fastidious ear. 

The uniform of his regiment is very handsome ; 
it is a blue coat, mth collar, facings, and lining of 
red • the vest and culotte white, and a hat bound 
mth silver. It became him extremely well. Prince 
Max was a much better man than he appeared to 
be or even wished to be thought ; I have heard 
many things of him very much to his honour. He 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 141 

was very mucli attached to my brother Godfrey, 
who was aide-de-camp to my uncle, and never lost 
an opportunity of serving him. 

My uncle had been sent a pamphlet which in- 
terested us all very much, and which was read 
aloud after the departure of Prince Max and his 
brilliant staff. It was entitled ' Dialogues on the 
Condition of Protestants in France.' It was a 
corollary to the proposition made in favour of our 
church in Parliament, and in which we felt a deep 
interest, although not personally concerned, as we 
Alsatians enjoyed special privileges, granted at the 
reunion of our province to France. M. Necker 
used all his interest, and employed the greatest 
zeal in favour of this measure, but had not the 
good fortune to succeed fully. Oh, my God ! when 
will there be an end to these dissensions and quar- 
rels, and everybody enjoy an absolute freedom of 
conscience ? 



142 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER Vl. 

The new Hotel de Villa at Montbeliard — Les Beueries — 
Count Wurmser in Austria — Ambassador to the Grand- 
duke of Russia — Letter of Paul Petrowitz — Adventure 
of the Baroness Hahn — Prince Louis de Eohan — Birth 
of Constantine Paulowitz — Madame Schack — Marriage 
of Prince Nassau Saarbruck — The comte of Saarbruck — 
Verses— M. de Dietrich — Rejoicings at the chateau of 
EeishofFen — The strange husband. 

I HAD been long absent from Montbeliard ; I now 
returned there with great pleasure. This illustrious 
family was become necessary to my happiness, I 
could not exist without them; besides the duchess 
now recalled me, that she might speak of her 
beloved child, that she might pour forth all the feel- 
ings of her heart without restraint, and who could 
sympathize with her as I? M. d'Oberkirch did 
not accompany me, he joined us at Montb^iard. 

The first thing I was carried to see was the 
new Hotel de Ville ; it was built on the site of the 
former, which had been destroyed two years 
before. It cost more than eighty thousand francs, 
and did much honour to Mr. LaquepieiTe, under 
whose direction it had been erected. The magis- 
trate had held a sitting there the evening before 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 148 

for the first time. I saw with pleasure that the 
former windows of stained glass had been preserved, 
and filled the new frames. The arms of Mont- 
b^liard were emblazoned on them, and produced a 
very good effect in the halls. 

When I arrived, her royal highness was at the 
Reveries, charming pleasure-grounds which she 
had got laid out under her directions ; they were 
situated on the route to Delle, at the entrance of the 
little wood of Sochaux. This road leads to Etupes 
and to Exincourt. The dukes of Montb^liard 
possess in their domains more than twenty thousand 
acres of for est, of which about six thousand are in the 
comte of Montb^liard, six thousand in the lordship 
of Blamont, Cl^mont, Chatelot, and d'Hericourt; 
five thousand in that of Horbourg and of Riquervir, 
two thousand at Clerval, Granges, and Passavant. 
It will be seen by this, that the princess had ample 
domains in which to choose a retreat; she selected 
this pretty little enclosure. The southern wall of 
the Reveries is hidden by plantations, and by 
a row of poplars bordering the road. On the 
north it is bounded by a canal, of which the waters 
are supplied by the AUain and the Savoureuse. 
The grove is ornamented with statues and vases, 
whilst a thousand winding pathways, varied-tinted 
flowers, clear purling streams, and fresh green 
swards, allure the fancy and flatter the senses. 



144 MEMOIRS OF 

In the pavilion, which was only meant as a resting 
place, were two pretty cabinets and a drawing- 
room. 

The princess w^as very fond of this place, and 
often went there. I determined to give her a 
surjorise, for she did not exj)ect me, and spite of 
much sage advice to the contrary, I set off on a 
fine sunny day in November. Her royal highness 
uttered a cry on recognising me, and ran towards 
me with open arms. Her first word was about 
her daughter. ]\Iy sudden aj^pearance made her 
fear that 1 was the bearer of some bad news. The 
grand-duchess of Russia was about to become a 
mother for the second time, and w^as filled with 
gloomy apprehensions. She had w-ritten to us all. 

I found much difficulty in tranquillizing her 
mother. A.t length when she was quite certain 
that I came simply to see, and pass some time 
with her, she was good enough to testify a great 
deal of joy, and to thank me very sincerely. 

" As a reward for your ^dsit, dear Lanele, I will 
tell you a piece of good new^s. The Count Sigis- 
mond de Wurmser has been apjDointed lieutenant- 
general by the Emperor Joseph XL''* 

* Dagobert Sigismond, count de Wurmser, born in 
Alsace in 1724, died in 1797. He broke the lines of Wis- 
sembourg commanded by Custini in 1793, and fought 
against Buonaparte in Italy in 1796. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 145 

This was, indeed, very good news. I was 
anxious to communicate it to my fatlier, who 
would be dehghted. The count de Wurmser, our 
relative, had accompanied my father to Austria 
some years before. He had been in the service of 
France, where from his earliest youth he had been 
distinguished for his high courage. At first, 
captain of cavalry in the Royal Germans, afterwards 
lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Nassau, from the 
creation of this regiment in '56. He was wounded 
the following year at the battle of Kosbach. 
Brigadier and colonel of Soubise in '61, he was 
again wounded near Friedbergen in '62. In after 
years he raised a corps of hussars in his own name, 
with whom he passed into the service of the 
empress-queen. She bestowed on him, at his first 
entrance into her service, the office of chamberlain, 
and afterwards created him count of the holy 
empire and major-general. His generosity and 
goodness of heart made him adored by the soldiers, 
whilst the chivalrous bravery of his character added 
lustre to his name. He was deeply beloved in the 
family, and many a voice foretold that his name 
would be seen high inscribed in the temple 
of fame. 

During two days this appointment formed the 
subject of our conversation, when it gave place to 
new ideas excited by the arrival of some music 

VOL. I. L 



146 MEMOIRS OF 

ordered by me, and which I intended as a present 
for the grand-duke of Russia, who was passionate!}^ 
fond of the science of sweet sounds. We practised 
all the ariettes before packing them. Heaven only 
knows what a confusion of sounds was there ! Each 
of the jDerformers sang his appointed air, his royal 
highness stopped his ears, and we laughed heartily 
at the discord we had raised. The duchess looked 
very sad. 

" That reminds me of my Dorothea, and the con- 
certs in ^v^hich you played together. Do you re- 
member the hlind-mans buff the day the prince- 
reoiiant arrived ?" 

We both sighed in thinking that these leaves of 
paper would meet the eyes of her whose absence 
we never ceased to deplore, whilst years might 
elapse before we should see her again ; nay, that 
happiness may never be granted to us. 

This music, as it appears, was an agreeable gift 
^ to his imperial highness. It was the occasion of 
my receiving the following charming epistle : — 

" St. Petersburg, 3rd (14tli) February 1779. 
" Madam, 

" I am very grateful for the music that you 
have been so kind as to send me. I have not yet 
had an opportunity of hearing it, but the deep 
conviction that I entertain of the taste of her who 



THE BAROXESS d'oBERKIRCH. 147 

selected it, is to me a sufficient assurance of its 
excellence. You indeed, madam, possess a title 
powerful enough to add a charm to anything, in 
my eyes ; it is that of being the friend of her who 
constitutes all my happiness. Through the in- 
fluence of this title you may be sure of always pos- 
sessing a boundless influence over me. I am deeply 
annoyed, madam, to perceive that the adventure 
of the baron de Hahn has caused you vexation, or 
that you could for a moment suppose that his 
thoughtlessness could in any way be reflected on 
her who introduced him. If I have any reason to 
be vexed at this adventure, it is only on account 
of the annoyance it has caused you, and which you 
express in your letter. I have besides received a 
letter from M. de Hahn, in which he shows himself 
quite penitent. Let this matter be for ever for- 
gotten, and permit me to subscribe myself 

" Yours faithfully, 

(Signed) " Paul." 

My protege was the young baron de Hahn. I 
have already mentioned that the baroness de Hahn, 
nee de Lieven, wife of baron de Hahn, colonel of 
cavalry, had been godmother to my daughter, as 
proxy for the landgravine of Hesse-Cassel. The 
young baron was major in the French service, and 
wished to enter into that of Russia. 

l2 



148 MEMOIRS OF 

I wrote to ttie OTand-ducliess : we tiave seen her 
answer. M. de Hahn would not accept the con- 
ditions, and by this refusal placed me in a most 
disagTeeable position, though he ought to have 
known that they were according to the rules of 
the Eussian service. He was universally blamed. 
I wrote to the grand-duke to make my apologies. 

I passed the winter at Strasburg, and was there 
on the 11th March, at the installation of Prince 
Louis de Eohan, who succeeded the Cardinal Con- 
stantino, his uncle, whose coadjutor he had been. 
He was a very great nobleman, to whom, it was 
said, the domains of the bishoprick in France and 
Germany would be only a small gem in his pastoral 
ring. His chapter, consisting of twelve canons and 
twelve domiciharies, went to receive him at the 
porch of his splendid cathedral. Born in the year 
1734, he was still young, and appeared very hand- 
some in his rich episcopal ornaments. I have often 
met, and will have occasion to speak of him again. 

I returned in the spring to Montbeliard, to cele- 
brate the birth of the Grand-duke Constantino 
Paulowitz, born on the 8th of May. His dear 
mother had been very ill, and we had suffered 
much on her account. Happily, our anxieties were 
now over, and we could live peaceably the remain- 
der of the summer, which I passed almost enthely 
at Etupes. The absence of the Princess Marie 



THE BAROl^ESS d'oBERKIRCH. 149 

Foederowna was deeply felt ; our gaiety was less 
buoyant, for tlie princesses her sisters were not so 
playful as she, and it must be admitted that the 
baroness de Boreck was a little less tormented. 
Still we sometimes amused ourselves slyly in watch- 
ing the old system of signals carried on between 
her and her worthy husband. A person of a style 
entirely different from the baroness de Boreck had 
been lately added to the establishment. This was 
Mdlle. de Schack, one of the ladies of the duchess. 
She possessed talent and information, and was 
endowed with a degree of penetration and finesse 
worthy of a wider sphere of action. She saw and 
observed everything without uttering a word, for 
she seldom spoke. The baron de Maneler, tutor 
to the young princes, with whom I often conversed, 
did not like her on that account. It is not, how- 
ever, by an extraordinary loquacity that one is 
most likely to succeed in the world. 

A marriage took place in the October of this 
year, which was considered a legitimate subject of 
conversation for everybody. The prince of Nassau- 
Saarbruck married his son, who was only twelve, 
to Mademoiselle de Montbarrey, who was eighieen 
years of age. Everybody was astonished at this 
alliance ; not because he was Protestant and she 
Catholic, for mixed marriages were very common 
in that country, but because of the age of the 



loO MEMOIRS OF 

prince. The young princess was to return to her 
parents immediately after the ceremony, and to 
remain with them until her husband should be ot 
age. Mademoiselle de Montbarrey is daughter to 
the ancient war-minister. The count de St. Ger- 
main had appointed him his assistant in this office, 
in which he succeeded him. As he was very clever, 
he profited largely by his position. He was created 
prince of the Holy Roman Empire, grandee of 
Spain, knight of the order, and grand baillie of 
Hagiienau. His wife had been a great beauty. 
She had a most exquisite complexion, pearly teeth, 
a captivating smile, soft dovelike eyes, and caressing 
manners — all of which made her one of the most 
charming persons in the world. She has been 
accused of having had a too tender heart ; but she 
was beloved, and has enjoyed with taste and grace 
the position of her husband. 

This marriage of the prince de Nassau-Saar- 
bruck mth Mademoiselle de Montbarrey was a 
very grand affair. The comte de Saarbruck, as 
well as that of Saarvverden, was ceded to France 
with a number of dependent lands and lordships 
in 1681, by an article in the Treaty of Westphalia. 
To indemnify the count de Nassau-Saarbruck, the 
emperor, by letters patent, raised him, 4th of 
August 1688, to the rank of prince of the 
Holy Eoman Empire. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 151 

The bridal pair received congratulations and 
compliments in every possible form. I have pre- 
served a copy of some verses, addressed to the 
princess by a drawing-room poet, and which were 
read with great avidity during the bridal fes- 
tivities. 

I will transcribe them here : — 

Far from your native land you go 

The ties of childhood to efface, 
A mother's tender cares forego 

To meet a husband's rapt embrace. 

Resigning thus so dear a prize, 

What tears maternal grief shall speak ! 

Whilst he, possessor of your charms, 
To love's enchanting bliss shall wake. 

Still through our tears a smile shall break, 
A smile of triumph when we say. 

Within the sunny land of France 

A thousand hearts shall own her sway. 

A milder sceptre there you'll wield ; 

For we, who long your scorn have proved. 
By envy touch'd, may whispering say, 

A heart so proud could scarce be loved. 

And thus triumphant you depart. 
From ev'ry breast allegiance claim ; 

Your sway is potent o'er each heart, 
Admired or lov'd you reign supreme. 

These verses are very stupid ; but I quote them 
because they amused us exceedingly, when we con- 
sidered that this husband, "possessor of your 
charms," and who " to love's enchanting bliss shall 



152 MEMOIRS OF 

wake/' was a child of twelve years of age, who 
wept from morning to niglit, frantic at being made 
an object of universal curiosity, flying from his 
wife, and even repulsing her with the rudeness of 
an ill-bred child, and having no desire to claim a 
title whose signification he did not understand. 

Mademoiselle de Montbarrey belied her ordinary 
good taste in making a dis23lay of these verses. It 
would have been better to conceal them. 

M. de Dietrich, who had purchased, in 1761, the 
seigniory of Reishoffen, near Haynenau, had the 
castle rebuilt in '69. This was confiscated pro- 
perty of the prince de Yaudemont, and bore the 
name of an ancient family of Alsace now extinct. 
The reigning prince of Nassau-Saarbruck gave 
brilliant fetes in this castle upon the event of the 
marriage of his son with the Princess Maximiliana 
de Montbarrey. All the province was invited 
there — all the neighbouring courts. Everything 
was on a scale of the greatest magnificence. The 
hunts, feasts, and promenades lasted three days. 
M, d'Oberkirch and I were present. I met several 
persons of my acquaintance, both French and 
German. During the ball, the bridegroom would, 
on no account, consent to dance with the bride ; 
he was at length threatened with a whipping in 
case of further refusal, and promised a deluge of 
sugar-plums and all sorts of sweetmeats if he com- 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 153 

plied ; whereupon he consented to lead her through 
a minuet. Though he showed so great an aversion 
to her who had a legal claim upon his attentions, 
he manifested a great sympathy for little Louisa 
de Dietrich, a child of his own age, and returned 
to sit beside her as soon as he could free himself 
from the ennuyeuse ceremony of attending on his 
bride. This was the husband whose "rapt em- 
brace '' awaited the young princess ; I could not 
describe how much we laughed at these exaggera- 
tions, and at the demeanour of the little bride- 
groom. 

My brother undertook to console him, and was 
showing him some prints in a large book ; amongst 
these there happened to be one which represented 
a wedding procession, which as soon as the child 
saw, he shut the book, quickly exclaiming — 

" Take it away, sir, take it away ; it is too horrible. 
The wedding ! what have I to do with that ? it is 
shocking ; and hold,'" continued he, pointing out 
a tall figure in the group, " there is one that is like 
Mademoiselle de Montbarrey.'' 

What i^rognostics for the future ! 



154 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER VII. 

The commander made mare'clial-de-camp — The court at 
Montbeliard in mourning — Anger of Madame Hendel — 
Letter from Her Imperial Highness Mary — Madame 
Beckendorf — Caghostro at Strasburg — Visit to Cardi- 
nal Rohan — Saverne — Its magnificence— Obelisk raised 
to Turenne— Cagliostro is announced — His reception — 
Charlatanism — His influence on me — Predictions — 
Death of Maria Theresa— Her courage — Verses — Depar- 
ture for Montbeliard — M. de AVangens and M. de Wit- 
tinghofi" — Death of Doctor Bernouille — Marriage of 
Princess Frederica — The coadjutor prince of Lubeck — 
City and chapter of Lubeck — Titles of the prince — 
Arrival of the emi^eror at Montbeliard — I sup with 
his majestj^ — Object of his journey — Marriage of the 
grand-duke of Tuscany and Princess Elizabeth — Con- 
fidence of the duchess of Montbeliard — Landgrave of 
Hesse-Cassel — Friendship of Princess Antoinette for 
me — Departure dinner at Cardinal Rohan's — Cagliostro 
again — Folly of some women — Faith of the cardinal in 
Caghostro — Confidence — Reflections. 



""O^ 



My uncle, Major de VTaldner, was one of those 
promoted on the first of March 1780 to the rank 
of field-marshaL I learned this news as I was settinsf 
out for Montbeliard, where, however, I was only 
to stay a week, for M. d'Oberkirch longed after 
Strasburg, where he was fond of residing. We 
found the court of Montbeliard in mourning, which 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 155 

annoyed me very mucla, for my dress was green, 
and whilst a mourning dress was being made, I 
was obliged to retire to my chamber, when- 
ever a visitor was announced. The princess de 
Montbeliard had lost the princess of Brandenburg- 
Bareith, reigning duchess of Wurtemberg, who died 
in the 48th year of her age. She was daughter to 
the Margrave Frederick and the Princess Frederica 
of Prussia, sister to the great Frederic, and was 
consequently, at the same time, sister-in-law and 
cousin-german to the duchess of Montbeliard. 
Her death caused little sorrow ; she was a strange 
kind of person, and had been long separated from 
her husband ; indeed, it seemed as if she could not 
make the Duke Charles, nor any person about her 
happy. Her only child had died in infancy. 
Though we sorrowed little for her, we were obliged 
to put on mourning, and to forego all our ordinary 
amusements. 

I persuaded M. d'Oberkirch to alter his originaJ 
intention, and to allow me to remain the entire 
summer at Montbeliard. I sent for my daughter, 
on whom the duchess doated, perhaps for the sake 
of her godmother. In the month of October, the 
Prince Frederick William, eldest son of the duchess, 
married the Princess Augusta of Brunswick- Wolf en- 
butt el. He had entered as colonel into the 
Prussian service, and became major-general during 



156 MEMOIRS OF 

the war of the Austrian succession. His parents 
were dehghted at this alliance. The duchess was 
so good a mother, that she seemed to live only for 
her children — their interest was ever present to 
her mind, and she was repaid, for never did there 
exist a more united or a happier family. 

A month after this marriage, it was November, 
we received a \dsit, which I would be willing to 
pass unnoticed, but which I record, as the visitor 
was a celebrated person. It was the Abbe E,a3Taal. 
He was returning from Geneva, where he had just 
published a new edition of his ' Histoire Philoso- 
phique des Indes,' a work which has procured him 
a great reputation. He was a man of about sixty- 
nine years of age ; to me he seemed very ugly, but 
that may have been the effect of prejudice, for I 
can rarely think those handsome whom I do not 
like. M. E-aynal absolutely pursued me, over- 
whelming me "with religious and political declama- 
tions, under pretext that I was of a serious turn of 
and mind, and capable of comj)rehending him — all 
that uttered with the accent of his birth-place, 
Pezenas, which he had conserved in all its purity. 
It would be impossible to speak with a more dis- 
aOTeeable Gascon accent. Perceivino' that I did 
question his paradoxes, he suddenly interrupted 
his discourse, and asked me — 

" Are you not a philosopher, baroness ? '' 



THE BxiRONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 157 

" I have not that honour, Mr. Abb^. " 

" You are at least convinced of the absurdity of 
certain doctrines?'' 

" Let us not enter into a discussion, we could 
never agree. I am, thank God, a sound Protestant. 
I do not meddle with atheistical doctrines, my 
conscience is a sufficient guide for me.'' 

"Oh! if you are a Protestant, madam, it is a 
different thing. I have nothing to say to you." 

He turned his back on me, and did not address 
himself to me again. This left me in peace. All 
persons of celebrity, no matter who they might be, 
were received at Montb^liard, even though their 
opinions might not be approved by the princes. 
L'Abb^ Raynal did not produce a very pleasing 
effect. He frightened the young princesses, and 
Madame Hendel could never pardon his having 
offered her a bad book of I know not what 
academy. 

" If I had known that in time," said she, in a 
furious passion, " I would have ordered him a 
calico pillow-case." 

This was the most severe punishment she could 
inflict on any one, for she asserted that nobody 
could sleep on calico, that being a fabric to which 
she could not reconcile herself She onlv suffered 
a few in the house de Montb^liard, and these only 
as instruments of punishment, though it must be 



158 MEMOIRS OF 

confessed that they seldom saw the light. She 
herself confided to me the cause of her anger ; I 
remember the circumstance well, for the same 
morning she brought me a letter from my dear 
princess, which I will transcribe here : — 

"St. Petersburg, 14th (19th) Nov. 1780. 

" My dear, my sweet friend, Lanele, 

" Madame Beckendorf, governess to my chil- 
dren, has prayed me to send you the accompan}dng 
letter. She conjures you to send it to her daugh- 
ter-in-law. This letter contains bills of exchange 
for two thousand roubles, which she is sendingf to 
her son. She prays you not to let this be known 
at Montbeliard. You will, for my sake, my dear 
friend, keep this secret ; I count on your discre- 
tion. This dear creature prays me every day, in 
the name of heaven, to accelerate the return of her 
son, but I cannot, in conscience, interfere. I have 
■written to Tille, telling her to do whatever she 
thinks best, and that, absent or present, she shall 
be always my dear friend. All this annoys me, 
and how I pity my poor, my good mamma. In 
the name of heaven, my dear Lanele, in the name 
of our friendship, be often with her. Induce your 
husband to go to Montbeliard ; you know that you 
are looked upon there as a daughter of the house. 
The little Marie shall always accompany you ; you 



THE BAROXESS d'OBERKIRCH. 159 

will be there in the bosom of friendship, and in a 
house of which all the inmates love you tenderly. 
Pray write to me quickly ; my dear Lanele neglects 
me, and no longer loves, as she once did, 

" Her faithful and sincere friend, 

(Signed) " Marik 

" I embrace my little goddaughter. The grand- 
duke sends you his compliments. My children 
are in excellent health ; they and their papa con- 
stitute my felicity, and indeed are my only happi- 
ness amidst the perplexing cares of royalty."" 

This is not the place to relate the causes of the 
uneasiness of the grand-duchess ; I will afterwards 
say more of this Madame de Beckendorf and her 
son. The princess knew that I was about to return 
to Strasburg for the winter, and conjured me to 
remain with her mother. My inclination would 
have prompted me to do so, but I was obliged to 
pass some months at Strasburg. The rank we held 
in that city imposed upon me this observance. On 
arriving there in the month of November we found 
the whole town busy, talking of a charlatan, who 
has since become very celebrated, and who was 
then commencing the system of jugglery which has 
since enabled him to play so extraordinary a part. 
I will here record simply what I have seen, leaving 



160 MEMOIRS OF 

my readers to decide upon what I could not com- 
prehend. 

Immediately upon our arrival we went to pay 
our respects to his eminence the cardinal de Ko- 
han, prince-bishop of Strasburg. He had just 
returned from a tour that he had made on the 
other side of the Hhine, where he had been to 
visit his episcopal domains. This is the second or 
third cardinal of the name of Kohan who has been 
bishop of Strasburg, so that he looks upon the 
church lands as belonging to him, in some sort, by 
rio'ht of inheritance. He has erected at Saverne 
one of the most charming abodes in the world. 
The cardinal is a very handsome man, in whose 
devotion there is nothing ascetic, and who has no 
objection to the society of ladies. Though en- 
dowed with high intelligence, and possessing 
amiable manners, an extreme credulity led him 
into weaknesses which he has expiated in deep 
sorrow, and which have cost our poor queen many 
a bitter tear in the vexatious history of the 
necklace. 

His eminence received us in his episcopal pa- 
lace, which was indeed fit for a sovereign prince. 
The style of living in his house was extravagant in 
the highest degree, and would almost exceed be- 
lief. I shall only mention one thing, which mil 
give an idea of the rest. He kept fourteen mctitres 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 161 

d'liotel and twenty-five valets de 'chaTribre. Only 
think ! it was three o'clock in the afternoon when 
we arrived ; it was the vigil of All Saints ; the 
cardinal was coming out of his chapel, dressed in a 
soutane of scarlet moire, and a rochet of English 
lace of inestimable value. When on occasions of 
great ceremony he officiated at Yersailles, he wore 
an alb of lace en point d V aiguille of such beauty 
that the assistants were almost afraid to touch it. 
His arms and his device were worked en medaillon 
above all the large flowers. This alb was estimated 
at a hundred thousand livres. On the day of 
which I speak he wore the rochet of English lace, 
one of his least beautiful, as his secretary, the 
Abb^ Geergel, told us. He carried in his hand an 
illuminated missal, a family heirloom, of which 
the magnificence would have attracted attention, 
even if its antiquity had not excited respect. 
Printed books were beneath the dignity of the car- 
dinal de Rohan. 

He came to meet us with a politeness and 
grace that I have rarely seen in any one. He 
inquired after the princess de Montbeliard and 
the grand-duchess of Russia, as if that were the sole 
subject of his thoughts. He spoke of his tour, and 
related a thousand interesting details. I remember 
that amongst other places, he spoke of Saltzbach, 
where the marechal de Turenne is interred. 

VOL. I. M 



162 MEMOIRS OF 

" I thought of erecting a monument to this gTeat 
man, and immediately purchased a field where a 
bullet killed him, and at the same time wounded 
the fortunes of France. I intend to get a pyramid 
erected there, and I will build beside it a lodge, in 
which I mil establish, as guardian, an old pen- 
sioner of the regiment of Turenne. I would pre- 
fer an Alsatian. The pyramid shaJl be twenty-five 
feet high, and planted around with laurel, the en- 
tire surrounded by an iron i ailing. What do you 
think of this project, baroness?" 

We assured his eminence that it was highly pa- 
triotic. A very interesting conversation then 
commenced, in which I took a real pleasure, the 
cardinal being both well-informed and well-bred, 
when we were suddenly interrupted by a gentle- 
man usher, who, opening the folding doors, an- 
nounced, " His eminence the count de Cagliostro.'^ 

I turned my head quickly ; I had heard this 
adventurer spoken of since my arrival in Strasburg, 
but I had not yet met him. I was stunned at 
seeing him enter in this manner into the mansion 
of the bishop, to hear him announced with this 
pomp ; and still more was I astonished at the man- 
ner in w^hich he was received. He had been in 
Alsace since the month of September, and had 
caused great commotion, pretending to cure all 
sorts of maladies. As he not only refused to take 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 163 

money, but even bestowed a great deal on the poor, 
large crowds followed him, notwithstanding the 
failure of his so-called universal panacea. He 
only cured hypochondriacs, or those whose ima- 
gination was sufficiently strong to aid the re- 
medy. The pohce kept a strict eye over him ; 
they watched him, but he affected to defy them. 
Some said that he was an Arab, however his accent 
was more that of an Italian or Piedmontese, and I 
have since learned that he was in reality from 
Naples. At the period of which I speak, in order 
to dazzle the vulgar mind, he slept in a fauteuil 
and ate nothing but cheese. 

He was not, strictly speaking, handsome, but 
never have I seen a more remarkable countenance. 
His glance was so penetrating that one would be 
almost tempted to call it supernatural. I could 
not describe the expression of his eyes, it was, so 
to say, a mixture of flame and ice. He attracted 
and repulsed, and whilst he terrified, inspired an 
insurmountable curiosity. Two portraits have been 
painted of him, both very good likenesses, and yet 
each widely different from the other. He wore, 
attached to his watch chain and upon his fingers, 
diamonds which, if they were what they appeared, 
would be worth a king^s ransom. He pretended 
that they were his own manufacture. All this 
frippery revealed unmistakably the charlatan. 

m2 



164 MEMOIRS OF 

Scarcely had the cardinal perceived, than he 
ran to meet him ; and whilst he saluted him at the 
door, said something which I did not try to overhear. 
Both approached us. I had risen at the same time 
as the bishop, but immediately resumed my place, 
not wishing to allow this adventurer to believe 
that I would accord him any attention. I was, 
however, soon forced to think of him, and I ac- 
knowledge now, in all humility, that I had no 
cause to repent, having always had a passion for 
the marvellous. 

His eminence contrived, at the end of about five 
minutes, not without some opposition on my part, 
as well as on that of M. d'Oberkirch, to make the 
conversation general. He had the tact not to name 
me, had he done so I should have instantly risen ; 
but he contrived to manage the conversation so 
that his protege sometimes addressed us, and po- 
liteness obliged us to reply. Cagliostro all this 
time continued to stare at me ; my husband made 
me a sign to come away, but I felt the glance of 
these deep mysterious eyes enter my bosom like a 
gimblet. I can find no better comparison to ex- 
press the effect they produced upon me. He sud- 
denly interrupted M. de Rohan, who, par paren- 
these, was overwhelmed with joy, and said to me 
abruptly — 

" Madam, your mother no longer lives ; you have 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 165 

scarcely known her, and you have one daughter. 
You are the only daughter of your family, and you 
will have no more children/' 

I was so surprised that I looked round me, not 
supposing it possible that he could have the auda- 
city to address a lady of my rank in such a place 
and such a presence. I thought he was speaking 
to somebody else, and did not answer. 

" Reply, madam,'' said the cardinal, with a sup- 
plicating air. 

" My lord, Madame d'Oberkirch speaks upon 
such subjects only with those with whom she has 
the honour of being acquainted," replied my hus- 
band, in a tone that was almost impertinent. I 
feared that he might forget the respect due to the 
bishop. 

He rose and made a haughty salute. I did the 
same. The cardinal, accustomed to find flatterers 
in all who approached him, was embarrassed ; he 
did not know what to do : however, he drew near 
to M. d'Oberkirch, Cagliostro still staring me, and 
addressed him in words so soothing that it was 
impossible to resist their influence. 

" M. de Cagliostro is a learned man ; we must not 
treat him as an ordinary person," added he. 
" E-emain a few moments, my dear baron, allow 
Madame d'Oberkirch to reply ; there is neither sin 
nor impropriety, I assure you ; and even if there 



166 MEMOIRS OF 



were, have I not the power of absolving in reserved 
cases V 

" I have not the honour of being of your flock, 
my lord/' interrupted M. d'Oberkirch, mth some 
slight remains of ill-humour. 

" I know that but too well, sir, and am sorry for 
it. You would do honour to our church. Baroness, 
tell us whether M. de Cagiiostro has been mistaken 
— ^tell us, I pray you."' 

" He has not been mistaken as to what concerns 
the past,'' I replied ; not being able to refuse to 
bear testimony to the truth. 

" And I am as little mistaken in what concerns 
the future," said Cagiiostro, in a tone so 7aetallic 
that it echoed like the sound produced by a 
trumpet veiled with crape. 

I mil candidly confess that I felt at the moment 
an intense deshe to consult that man, and that 
nothing but the fear of annoying M. d'Oberkirch, 
whose aversion for all these mummeries I knew 
well, could prevent me. The cardinal stared ojDen- 
mouthed ; he was evidently under the control of 
this skilful juggler, as he has since too well proved. 
That day will remain for ever engraven on my 
memory. It was with difficulty that I tore myself 
from a fascination which I cannot yet comprehend, 
but whose influence I could not deny. I have not 
yet finished with Cagiiostro ; and what I am about 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 167 

to relate is at least as extraordinary, and more 
generally known, than what I have narrated. He 
predicted the death of the Empress Maria Theresa, 
and even foretold the hour at which she should 
expire. M. de Rohan told it to me in the evening, 
and it was five days after that the news arrived. 
This great sovereign's death was a serious loss ; 
were she still alive, things would not wear in 
France the aspect that they now do. She ruled 
Europe by the power of her genius ; she and 
Catherine II., the Semiramis of the north, have had 
no equal amongst the sovereigns of this century, 
excepting, perhaps, Frederick of Prussia. Maria 
Theresa displayed, during her last illness, a heroic 
courage, sublime resolution, and presence of mind. 
She wished to know, as nearty as possible, the 
moment of her death ; her son, the Emperor 
Joseph, fainted on hearing the decree pronounced 
by the chief physician. The empress supported, 
consoled, and advised him. To the last moment 
she was occupied with the cares of her kingdom, 
and dictated, "with extraordinary precision, letters 
to her august son, for the regulation of the empire 
and his own conduct. The following verses were 
inscribed beneath her portrait : — 

To all a woman's witching grace 

She joined a manly strength of mind ; 

High powers of thought, each charm of face, 
With godlike majesty combined. 



168 MEMOIRS OF 

I set off for Montbeliard in March 1781. I 
was delighted. The health of my daughter had 
been so delicate during the winter, that I had not 
been able to visit these dear friends. I gave a place 
in my carriage to the baron de Wanger, of whom 
I have already spoken. He liad been apjDointed 
lieutenant-general the year before. He possessed 
honour and talent, but, unfortunately, no virtuous 
woman could receive him often at her house. He 
led a strange life, always busy about those who 
would accept him as a lover, and often giving 
himself a great deal of trouble about ladies who 
took no interest in him. He did not, however, 
pour himself forth mth me : he knew that these 
things were not to my taste ; but he was an reste 
very entertaining, as was also the baron de 
Wittinghoff, commander of the regiment of Hesse- 
Darmstadt, who accompanied us. This latter was 
a very distinguished officer. He was born in 
Courland in 1722 ; he quitted the service of 
Poland for that of France when he was at first 
appointed colonel of the Royal-Baviere ; he wore 
the order of the knights of TEpee de Suede. 

We found the princess de Montbeliard grieving 
for the death of the famous physician, Bernouille. 
He resided at Basle, and her royal highness often 
sent for him to prescribe for her children. She 
reposed a boundless confidence in him. He was a 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 169 

botanist, anatomist, and natural philosopher. This 
family were reared in the bosom of science. John 
and James Bernouill^, both celebrated mathema- 
ticians, were, the one his father, the other his uncle. 
" I am afflicted," said the princess, with a smile, 
to see him depart so soon ; I had hoped to die by 
his hand/' 

Some days after my arrival the duchess told me 
in confidence that her second daughter, the Princess 
Frederica was to be married to Prince Frederick 
Louis of Holstein, coadjutor of Lubeck. The mar- 
riage was celebrated on the 26th June following. 
After passing a few days at my own home, I 
returned to be present at the ceremony. 

The Princess Frederica was at that time only 
sixteen years of age. She had a lovely face and 
amiable disposition. She was not as tall, nor as 
regularly beautiful, as the grand-duchess of Russia ; 

If 

her countenance portrayed her character, which 
was gentle and melancholy. 

The prince, who was twenty-six years old, had 
an aquiline nose, his chin retreated, and the under 
lip protruded a little. He had in general a serene 
and thoughtful air. The festivities of this marriage 
lasted several days. This alliance caused a great 
joy through the entire principality, where the house 
of Wurtemberg was very popular. The match was, 
however, far inferior to that of the Princess Doro- 



170 MEMOIRS OF 

tliea. The prince had been coadjutor to the prince- 
bishop of Lubeck, his uncle, and administrator of 
Oldenburg since the year 1776, when his cousin, 
Prince Frederick William of Holstein, resigned in 
his favour. He was also nej^hew to the king of 
Sweden. 

The city of Lubeck, the chief of the seventy-two 
Hanseatic cities, and which forms an independent 
republic, embraced the confession of Augsburg in 
1535. The bishop (Protestant) does not exercise a 
sovereign authority ; he is dependent on the arch- 
bishop of Bremen, and resides generally at Eutin. 
The city and chapter of Lubeck elect their bishop. 
This chapter is composed of twenty-two Protestant 
and four Catholic canons, making in all twenty- 
six. This bishoprick, situated in the circle of Lower 
Saxony, was founded in the city of Oldenburg 
by Otho the First. In 1163, it Avas transferred to 
Lubeck. Lutheranism was established under the 
thirty-ninth titular bishop, and has flourished 
under his successors, Avho, since 1530, have been 
Lutherans. John of Holstein, who was bishop in 
1654, saved the see of Lubeck from being secu- 
larized at Munster, as some others were. Touched 
with gratitude for this service, the chapter decided 
that the prelacy should be confirmed to six princes 
of Holstein, who should be elected in succession — 
a rule which has ever since been observed. The 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 171 

prevot of the church is appointed alternately by the 
church and by the chapter. The bishop has no power 
over the city, but he sits at the Diet on the bench 
of Protestant bishops, beside him of Osnaburg. 

The title of the prince-bishop of Lubeck is, 
bishop of Lubeck, duke of Schleswig-Holstein, of 
Hormarck and of Dietmaisen, count of Oldenburg 
and of Delmenhorst. He resides at Eutin, though 
he has an episcopal palace at Lubeck. His arras 
are, a field azure, charged with a cross or, sur- 
mounted by an episcopal mitre. 

Scarcely were the wedding festivities over, and 
just as we were returning to our habitual quiet, 
without, however, forgetting the dear princess we 
had lost, when we were thrown into commotion by 
a very different piece of intelligence. On the 7th 
August we were at Etupes, on a bowling-green, of 
which the prince was very fond. We were talking 
of our two dear princesses, when suddenly a courier 
presented himself, all booted, before the duke, re- 
gardless of etiquette, which, however, was often 
laid aside at this patriarchal court, and exclaimed — 

" Monseigneur, monseigneur, the emperor is at 
Montbeliard, and awaits your highness. We did 
not wait to hear it a second time, and in a quarter 
of an hour we were on our way to the city. The 
emperor had alighted as a jDrivate individual at 
the hotel of the Red Lion. He was returning from 



172 MEMOIRS OF 

a journey through the north of Germany, the Low 
Countries, and a part of France. He travelled 
under the name of count de Falkenstein. He was 
highly esteemed at Paris, where his august sister, 
Marie Antoinette, had prepared for him every sort 
of amusement. There was a captivating simplicity 
in his manner and character. For example, at 
Nantes, when the crowd was pushed back rather 
rudely to allow him to pass, he said to the officer 
who commanded the escort — 

" Gently, sir, gently ; one man does not require 
so much room to pass.'' 

As soon as we arrived at Montbeliard, the duke 
and duchess, the young princes, and all the house- 
hold of their highnesses, repaired to the hotel, 
where his imperial majesty was staying. The 
duke was about to kneel to do him homage, con- 
formable to his duty as prince of the Roman 
empire, but the emperor stopped him, sajdng in a 
friendly manner — 

" No ceremonies, my dear duke ; it is the count 
of Falkenstein who pays you a visit."' 

We were afterwards presented to Joseph, who 
made a most agTeeable impression on me. He 
seemed to be proud, not of his high position, but 
of his personal superiority. He was very tall, but 
held himself perfectly straight. He wore a wig, 
which he sometimes, unconsciously, pulled awTy. 



THE BAEOXESS D OBERKIRCH. 173 

His manners were noble and simple, too simple 
perhaps ; and certainly his visit did no service to 
France, where it tended to bring royalty into dis- 
credit by putting kings on a level with the lower 
classes of society, who were not slow to profit by 
the circumstance. Joseph the Second's sense of 
justice, his moderation, his humanity, made him 
adored by his subjects, whilst his gTacious and 
unaffected manners inspired at first sight as much 
affection as respect. I have already expressed 
this opinion, and I now repeat it. I have but 
one reproach to make him, it is on the subject 
of his philosophic tendencies. He ambitioned, it 
is said, to walk in the footsteps of the great 
Frederick. He wished to digest and put into 
operation a new plan of government conformable 
to his new ideas. As far as my limited knowledge 
would allow me to judge, I think that he made 
a mistake. All philosopher as he was, he did not 
call to see M. de Voltaire, at Ferney, a loss for 
which the patriarch could scarcely console himself. 
As soon as their highnesses had paid their 
respects to the emperor, they conducted him to the 
castle, where an apartment had been hastily pre- 
pared for him. We had the honour of supping 
with his majesty, who was particularly gracious to 
me on learning that I was the best -beloved friend 
of the grand-duchess. I observed much, and 



174 MEMOIRS OF 

spoke little, divining from certain signs, easily 
understood by me, who was so well acquainted with 
the peculiarities of the family ; divining, I say, that 
some subject of grave but joyous import occupied 
the minds of the prince and princess. In the 
evening we played for very small stakes, and some 
remark being made to the emperor on this subject, 
he said that he would scruple to squander the 
money of his people. I thought this answer very 
praiseworthy, but savouring a little of affectation ; 
indeed, it seemed to me that this monarch always 
spoke and acted as if there were a moralist stand- 
ing behind his chair, busy in making a portrait of 
his virtues. 

The afternoon of the folloAving day was spent in 
visiting Etupes. The emperor was delighted with 
it, even though he had so recently been at Versailles 
and Trianon. He was particularly attentive to 
the Princess Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of 
the princess of Wurtemberg, questioning her on 
several subjects, answering her remarks, com- 
menting on them, and smiling at her repartees. 
All the court remarked it, and in the evening I 
expressed my pleasure on the subject to her royal 
hioimess. 

" Yes, my dear Lanele,'' said she, " I am very 
happy, and I will no longer delay to confide to you 
the cause of my joy. The visit of the emperor had 



TPIE BARONESS DOBERKIRCH. 175 

no other object than the marriage of my daughter 
Elizabeth with the Archduke Francis of Tuscany. 
You can imagine how delighted the duke and I 
are. 

1 was so delighted that I could not help kissing 
the hand of his royal highness. This was so bril- 
liant and so unexpected a match, and to be proposed 
by the Emperor Joseph in person was so flattering 
a distinction. 

The emperor set off on the 9th, enchanted with 
our little court, where he had made an impression 
that could never be effaced. However I must say, 
though I do justice to the merit of this great 
monarch, that I far prefer his august sister. Queen 
Marie Antoinette. She was as good as unaf- 
fected, but she was more regal, more dignified, per- 
haps even more frank ; she was more like the great 
Maria Theresa. 

The emperor was only two days gone, when we 
received another visit ; it was from the landgravine 
of Hesse-Cassel, second wife of the landgrave 
Frederick XL, whose first wife was the Princess 
Mary of England. I say we when I speak of this 
noble family with whom I was as it were incorpo- 
rated, and of which I was considered a member. 
My readers will then pardon me for thus asso- 
ciating myself with those whose affection for me 
equalled that inspired by the ties of blood. 



176 MEMOIRS OF 

The landgravine of Hesse-Cassel, princess of 
Branclenburg-Scliwadt, was aunt to the grand- 
duchess, being sister to her mother. She had held, 
as I have already said, my daughter at the baptismal 
font, and was most kind and affectionate to me. 
She was accompanied by the princess of Hesse- 
Rheinfels-Rothemburg. The latter professed a most 
ardent affection for me, declaring that I was perfect, 
and that her sister, the duchess of Bouillon had told 
her so. I was not insensible to these attentions, 
which were alike flattering and honourable, but I 
was obliged to renounce her amiable society. M. 
d'Oberkirch was most anxious that I should return 
to Strasburg, whither matters of business recalled 
us ; and notwithstanding my enviable position at 
Montb^liard, I was impatient to find myself again 
at lioiine. I took leave of my august hosts with the 
same feeling of painful emotion that I always ex- 
perienced in parting from them, but I promised to 
return soon and remain a long time. 

" Ah ! my dear Lanele," the duchess used often 
to say, " why do you not remain always with us ? 
I would give you the highest place at court, and I 
would be so glad of your society, now especially, 
when all my daughters have deserted me.'' 

The duchess certainly loved me like a mother. 
Scarcely was I settled at Strasburg when I was 
presented with a letter bearing an immense seal ; 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 177 

it was from the cardinal de Rohan, invitino* M. 
'Oberkirch and me to dine with him in three days. 
I did not understand this piece of pohteness, to 
which we were not accustomed. 

" I am convinced," said my husband, " that he 
wishes to bring us in contact with his cursed sor- 
cerer, on whom I would willingly play a trick."' 

" He is at Paris,'' I replied. 

'^ He has been here for the last month, followed 
by a dozen foolish women, whom he has persuaded 
that he will cure of their malady ; it is a frenzy, a 
madness ; and what is most annoying in the bu- 
siness is, that they are all women of quality. They 
have come after him from Paris, and are here 
cooped up in little cells ; but everything is alike 
indifferent to them, provided they be under the 
eye of the great Copt, their master and their phy- 
sician. Was there ever seen such madness t' 

" I thought that he had gone to attend the 
prince of Scribere ?" 

" He did go, and has come back attended by 
this cortege. Since his return he has cured an 
under officer of dragoons, who was believed to be 
very ill, and who had only an imaginary fever. It 
is since then that his reputation has become so 
great. I acknowledge that he carries on things on 
a great scale, and is a philanthropist of perhaps the 
be'st class." 

VOL. I. N 



178 MEMOIRS OF 

This word philanthropist, which had been only 
lately invented by the encyclopedians, seemed to 
me as strange as what preceded. I had seen, the 
evening before, at a print seller's, a portrait of 
Cagliostro, with the following verses inscribed be- 
neath : — 

Man's secret thoughts his glance can read ; 

Each day brings blessings in his train ; 
Life he prolongs, the poor relieves, 

His acts themselves his only gain. 

I do not think it would be possible to express 
more foolish sentiments in more silly verses. 

We hesitated a long time before replying to the 
prince. M. d'Oberkirch was much inclined to refuse, 
whilst I, on the contrary, felt an irrepressible de- 
sire to see again the sorcerer, as my husband called 
him. At length the fear of being unpolite to his 
eminence determined us to accept the invitation. 
I assure you that my heart beat as I entered the 
cardinal's palace. I experienced an indefinable 
emotion of fear, which was not, however, wholly 
devoid of charm. We found that our suspicions 
had been well grounded, Cagliostro was amongst 
the company at the cardinal's. 

It would be impossible to give an idea of the 
passion, the madness Ynth which people pursued 
this man. It would appear incredible to any one 
who had not seen it. He was surrounded, he was 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKir.CH. 179 

beset ; happy was the person esteemed upon whom 
his glance fell. Nor was it alone in our province 
that this infatuation prevailed, the furor was not 
a whit less intense at Paris : nor had M. d'Ober- 
kirch exaggerated, a dozen women of rank, as well 
as two actresses, had followed Cagliostro, that, 
under his direction, they might continue the pre- 
scribed regimen, and the cure of the dragoon 
officer, whether real or feigned, had riveted his 
power over the public mind. I had determined 
not to make myself singular, and to adapt myself 
to the opinions of the people about me, in going 
through this scene, or at least to appear to do so ; 
but I was fully resolved that this man should 
have no opportunity of exercising his pedantic 
foolery over me, and, above all, that he should 
never cross the threshold of my door. 

As soon as Cagliostro perceived me he made a 
very respectful salute, which I returned without 
any affectation of haughtiness or condescension. I 
did not know why the cardinal attached so much 
importance to persuading me rather than another, 
but during the entire time of dinner — there were 
fifteen persons present — he seemed to think only 
of me. There was an insinuating grace in the 
manner in which he endeavoured to bring me over 
to his opinion. He placed me on his right hand, 
spoke almost exclusively with me, and endeavoured 

N 2 



180 MEMOIRS OF 

by every possible means to imbue me with his con- 
victions. I resisted gently but firmly. He became 
impatient, and was about to make some confiden- 
tial communications when we rose from table. If 
I had not myself seen it, I never could have be- 
lieved that a prince of the Catholic church, a 
Rohan, a man in other respects intelligent and 
estimable, could allow himself to be so influenced 
by an impostor of this species, as absolutely to 
renounce the exercise of his freewill. 

" Indeed, baroness, you are too sceptical. Since 
what he has said to yourself, and what I have re- 
lated, have not persuaded you, I must acknowledge 
all ; but remember that I am about to confide to 
you a great secret.'' 

I became very much embarrassed ; I set little 
value on his secret, and his well-known imprudence 

made me fear that I should have the honour of 

sharing his confidence with persons unworthy of 

his notice. He divined my feeling. 

" Do not say no,'' interrupted he, " and listen 

to me. You see this ?" 

He showed me a large diamond that he wore on 

his little finger, and on which the Rohan arms were 

engi^aved. This ring was worth, at least, twenty 

thousand francs. 

" It is a beautiful gem, monseigneur ; I have 

been admiring it." 



THE BARO^TESS d'oBERKIRCH. 181 

" Well, it is he who made it ; made it out of 
nothing. I was present during the whole opera- 
tion — my eyes fixed on the crucible. Is not that 
science, baroness ? People cannot say that he is 
wheedling or deceiving me. The jeweller and the 
engraver have estimated this ring at twenty-five 
thousand livres. You will admit that he would be 
a strange kind of cheat who would make such 
presents.'' I acknowledge that I was stunned ; M. 
de Rohan perceived it, and continued, believing 
himself now sure of victory. 

" This is not all — he can make gold ! and has 
made in my presence five or six thousand livres in 
this palace. I shall have more ; I shall have a 
great deal ; he will make me the richest prince in 
Europe ! These are not dreams, madam ; they are 
positive facts. All his prophecies that have been 
realised ! all the miraculous cures that he has 
effected ! I repeat that he is a most extraordinary 
' — a most sublime man, whose knowledge is only 
equalled by his goodness. What alms he gives ! 
What good he does ! That exceeds all power of 
imagination.'' 

" What, monseigneur, has not your eminence 
given him anything for that ; no promise in writ- 
ing that may compromise you ? Pardon my 
curiosity, but as you have been so kind as to con 
fide to me this secret, I " 



182 MEMOIRS OF 

" You are right, madam ; and I can assure you 
that he has never asked nor received anything 
from me/' 

"Ah! monseigneur," cried I, "this man must 
hope to induce you to ma.ke extraordinary sacri- 
fices, when he purchases your confidence at -so high 
a price. In your place, I would be on my guard ; 
he may lead you farther than you think/' 

The cardinal smiled incredulouslv ; but I am 
sure that in after days, when the affair of the 
necklace occurred, when Cagliostro and Madame de 
la Mothe had plunged him into an abyss of ruin, T 
am sure that then he remembered my words. 

We chatted thus almost during the whole 

eveninor, and I at leno'th discovered the motive of 

these cajoleries. The poor prince had not acted 

thus of his own accord. Cagliostro knew of my 

intimate friendship with the grand-duchess, and 

had insisted that his patron should endeavour to 

persuade me of his occult power, that he might 

through me get an introduction to her imperial 

highness. The plan was not badly conceived, but 

it failed before the strength of my will — I do not 

say of my reason, that would have been insufficient ; 

nor do I say my conviction, for I felt it shaken. 

It is certain that had I yielded to my admiration 

for the marvellous, I too might have become the 

dupe of this sharper. The thought of my daughter 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 183 

and my husband preserved me from this folly, the 
only serious one I have had to contend with, in 
my life. There are so many charms in the mys- 
terious, there is so much eclat attached to astro- 
logical discoveries, and to the occult sciences. I 
cannot den}^ that Cagliostro possessed an almost 
demoniacal power : he fascinated the mind ; he 
benumbed, so to speak, the reflective faculties. I 
do not undertake to explain this phenomenon, I 
merely relate it, leaving to those more learned 
than I, the task of penetrating the mystery. 

This disinterested man afterwards beguiled 
Cardinal Rohan of immense sums. It is, however, 
said, that he is still completely his dupe, and never 
speaks of him but with tears in his eyes. What a 
strange man that prelate was 1 How be degraded 
his dignity ! What a great deal of harm his weak- 
ness and indiscretion have caused. His sorrows 
and his sufferings have expiated his faults, but his 
conduct was highly blameable. 



184' MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER YIII. 

Birth of a prince — Projected journey of the grand-duke 
and duchess of Russia — They leave St. Petersburg — 
The parents of the grand-duchess go to meet her— I go 
with them — Reception at Stuttgard — I fall sick — De- 
votion of Mademoiselle Cramm — Regret — Consolation — 
Projected journey to Paris — Journal — Birth of the 
dauphin — Golden dolphins — The nurse — Anniversary of 
the reunion of Strasburg to France — Rejoicings— M. 
Gerard — Play by M. Rochon de Chabannes — Tribute of 
the peasants — Princess Christiana — Chapter of Remire- 
mont — Disputes between les dames tantes and Its dames 
nieces — Baroness WimpfFen — M. Flachsland — M. de St. 
Germain, minister of war — M. de Maurepas — His pre- 
sentation at Fontainebleau — Singular dress — Tragic 
event — Death of the princess of Wurtemberg, 

We were at Montbdliard the 27tli of September 
'81, when a son was born to the Duke Frederick 
William* of Wurtemberg. He was named Frederick 
William Charles. The prince of Montbeliard, his 
grandfather, was delighted. He could not contain 
his joy, and was never weary of speaking of so 
happy an event. The birth of the prince was 
celebrated with great fetes, at which, as a matter 
of course, we were present ; the hajDpiness of these 

* Frederick William, reigning duke in 1797, elector in 
1802, first king of Wurtemberg in 1806, died 30th August 
1816. Frederick William Charles, his son, succeeded, and 
has been a blessing to his subjects. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 185 

dear princes was as dear to me as my own. A 
fresh cause of joy soon presented itself. The 
grand-duchess was about to make a tour, during 
which she expected to meet her parents, and it 
may be easily supposed that I felt no small desire 
to join the party. M. d'Oberkirch consented, and 
it was agreed that we should all go to Vienna to 
meet her. The day of departure seemed, to our 
impatient longings, to linger on its way. The 
duchess of Montbeliard became absolutely thin 
through vexation. I must not forget to mention 
that the grand-duchess had expressly requested 
that I should be of the party. It can be easily 
imagined that, after so long an absence, we had a 
thousand things to say to one another. It was 
arranged that I should leave my daughter to 
the care of my mother-in-law, and, painful as it 
was to separate from my child, I felt that it was 
indispensable, and resigned myself for the sake of 
my dear princess. 

The Grand-duke Paul and the Grand-duchess 
Marie had already set out from St. Petersburg, 
attended by a numerous suite. They had obtained 
from the empress permission to travel, and profited 
by the indulgence with the eagerness natural to 
their age. They were to traverse Poland, Austria, 
Italy, and to visit France. They were accompanied 
by the eldest brother of the princess, Frederick 



186 MEMOIRS OF 

William, who had quitted the Prussian service. 
The grand-duke and his august sjoouse travelled 
under the title of count and countess du Nord. The 
letters of her imperial highness spoke of nothing 
but the joy she felt in the hope of seeing us all 
again. She narrated the most minute particulars, 
and hurried, as she said, that she might be the sooner 
in our arms. The duchess of Montbeliard invited 
me to travel in the same carriage with her and his 
highness the duke. 

•' For," she said, " it is with you alone, my dear 
Lanele, that we can speak freely of my daughter ; 
you share in our feelings." 

At length the important day arrived ; Ave all set 
off for Stuttgard, where the reigning prince awaited 
us. We were afterwards to proceed to Munich 
and Vienna, as the grand-duchess was to pass 
through the latter city on her way to Italy. Our 
journey as far as the capital of the duchy of Wur- 
temburg was a continued scene of gaiety. We 
laughed, we sang ; nothing could exceed our hap- 
piness as we reflected that we were on the way to 
rejoin a beloved daughter, a faithful friend. A 
most flattering reception awaited us at Stuttgard. 
His serene highness the Duke Charles detained us 
several days ; he had prepared us every kind of 
amusement ; we could only half enjoy them, our 
thoughts were elsewhere. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 187 

We had already passed a week at Stuttgard, 
when one evening as I was playing piquet a ecrire 
with several persons, I felt a heaviness of the head 
and sickness of the stomach, I thought that repose 
would do me good, and asked permission of her 
royal highness to retire. It was granted, but I 
was laughed at, and told that I was too fond of 
myself, and accused of idleness ; even the princess 
of Montbeliard said : 

" When one is going to meet a sister, there is 
no excuse for falling idle." 

All this did not prevent my being seized with a 
terrible fever during the night, and the next day 
the physicians declared that I had the small-pox. 
This announcement overwhelmed me, not so much 
on account of this terrible malady and its con- 
sequences, as because it prevented me from con- 
tinuing my journey. 

I repeated incessantly, "I shall not see the 
Grand-duchess Marie,'' and wept like an infant 
whilst I said so. 

I was kept in a retired chamber, as is always 
done in such cases. The departure of the family 
for Vienna was concealed from me, that I misfht 
not have fresh cause for vexation ; and this secrecy 
was easily observed as I was not visited by any- 
body. I was told that their imperial highnesses 
had changed their route, and would not visit 



188 MEMOIRS OF 

Vienna until their return. I believed it, and pro- 
mised M. d'Oberkircli, who did not leave me for a 
moment, to take the greatest care of myself. 

I had received many marks of friendship and 
attention from the family de Cramm. Mdlle. de 
Cramm was at that time twenty -one years of age, 
and in every respect a most distinguished person- 
She and I felt a great sympathy for one another, 
and became intimate from our first acquaintance. 
Her mother had married successively two cousins - 
german of her own name. This family de Cramm 
is from Brunswick, and the armorial bearings are 
three fleurs-de-lis on a field azure. These are 
plainly the arms of France. This circumstance 
astonished me very much : it would be interesting 
to know the cause of the coincidence ; but I must 
plead guilty to the charge of having neglected to 
inquire where my curiosity could be satisfied. 

When Mdlle. de Cramm learned that I had 
been attacked with small-pox, she did not hesitate 
an instant ; but, regardless of danger, of con- 
tagion, forgetting her youth and lovely face, she 
came and shut herself up with me, exposing herself 
to the horrors entailed by this scourge of female 
beauty. She tended me with unparalleled devoted- 
ness and affection; day and night found her still 
beside my pillow, anxious to divine my every wish, 
which she satisfied with a gi^ace that doubled the 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 189 

value of tlie service. Never will I forget what she 
has done for me. 

During some days I was in imminent danger. I 
really believe that I owed my life to the good 
management of my nurse-tender. M. d'Oberkirch 
was so grateful that I believe he would have given 
her all he possessed had she only asked it. The 
danger once over, I became rapidly better, and was 
soon convalescent. It was now impossible to conceal 
from me the truth as to the route taken by the 
countess du Nord ; everybody was talking on this 
subject. I was again plunged into despair ; I could 
neither be silent nor console myself. 

" Monsieur," said Mdlle. de Cramm one day to 
M. d'Oberkirch, " the poor baroness will die of 
grief for not having seen the princess.'' 

" She shall suffer no loss if she will only be sen- 
sible, take care of herself, and get well quickly ; 
for I will take her to Paris to await the arrival of 
her imperial highness. She will thus see her more 
at her ease, and enjoy her society longer." 

I overheard these words, and would have jumped 
with joy if I had not been bound down upon a 
bed of sickness. 

" Oh ! I promise to do all that you wish ; to take, 
without hesitation, the most bitter medicines, and 
the most disagreeable draughts, that I may be able 
to accompany you. Your promise will do more for 



190 MEMOIRS OF 

the recovery of my health than all the prescriptions 
of the physicians/' 

In fact, the prospect of so great a happiness 
comforted me, so that my health was restored as if 
by enchantment. My lovely infimiarian shared 
my joy, and kept up its efficacious effects by 
continually speaking of my meeting with the 
princess, and pointing it out as the term and re- 
compense of my patient docility. M. d'Oberkirch 
kept his word, and when the count and countess 
du Nord arrived in Paris, on the 18th of May '82, 
I was there to receive them, as shall be related in 
its projDer place. 

It was during this tour that I kept a journal, 
which, upon my return to Alsace, I wrote out at 
length, adding some particulars. It is this journal 
that I am about to present to my readers, and if I 
make some additions I shall still always return to 
my text, narrating the events of each day, that I 
may be sure of not committing an error. 

As soon as it was possible for me to travel, M. 
d'Oberkirch brought me to Strasburg, where my 
father awaited me with impatience. He found me 
looking very ill, though not disfigured, as, thanks 
to the cautions and entreaties of Mdlle. de Cramm, 
I had mastered the irritation I felt, and forbore to 
touch my face. 

During my illness a great event had occuiTed at 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 191 

Versailles. The queen had given birth to the 
dauphin. He had been baptized on the day fol- 
lowing that of his birth by the cardinal prince de 
Rohan, grand almoner, bishop of Strasburg, and 
held at the font, in the name of the emperor and 
Madame de Piemont, by l^/Ionsieur, brother to the 
king, and by the countess de Provence. It became 
the fashion to wear dolphins of gold, ornamented 
with precious stones, in the same fashion that 
Jeannettes were worn. The birth of this royal 
child diffused universal joy through the kingdom. 
So great was the anxiety about his health that a gar- 
dienne du ventre was appointed for his nurse, in 
order to report to the faculty the state of health in 
which this precious woman was, and who, that the 
account may be very exact, scarcely ever lost sight 
of her. 

In Strasburg, as well as in all the other cities of 
the empire, there were great public rejoicings. 
With us they nearly clashed with those which cele- 
brated the anniversary of the union of Strasburg 
with France, which had taken place in 1681, con- 
sequently a hundred years before the birth of the 
dauphin. The magistracy gave marriage j)ortions 
to ten Protestant and to as many Catholic young 
girls, and granted to their husbands a participation 
in municipal rights. The ten Protestant marriages 
were celebrated in the temnple neuf, and the ten 



192 MEMOIRS OF 

Catholics in the cathedral, where a Te Deiim was 
sung in Latin, whilst in the Protestant church the 
hymn was sung in German. All the artillery of the 
town fired military salutes. The cardinal de Rohan 
officiated at the cathedral, assisted by the bishop of 
Tournay, and set off next day for Versailles, where 
the ceremonies of the couches de la reine made his 
presence necessary. Medals of gold and silver, 
bearing a likeness of Louis XYI., were struck on 
this occasion, and presented to the persons of dis- 
tinction and high functionaries of the town ; 
amongst these were, le marquis de Contades, com- 
mander in the city ; the marquis de la Salle, the 
administrator ; M. de la Galaiziere, the royal pre- 
teur ; M. Gerard, the Stallmeister and Ammeister ; 
the counsellors of the chambre des treize, des 
quinze, and des vingt-et-un ; the members of the 
grand senate, les echevins des trihus, &c. Thirty- 
three gold medals were struck, each of the value of 
two hundred livres, and three hundred and fifty, 
each worth twelve livres. There were besides 
fifteen hundred silver medals, each worth a florin, 
and bearing, on one side, this inscription, ' Argento- 
rentium felix,' and on the other, a fleur-de-lis. 

M. Gerard, the royal preteur, who was intimate 
Avith M. Rochon, of Chabannes, prayed him to 
compose a dramatic piece suited to the occasion. 
This morceau, called ' The Tribute,' had great 



THE BAROXESS D'OBEEKIRCH. 198 

success. Local circumstances, and the peculiar 
position of Strasburg, furnished the subject of this 
piece, of which the morality was to show the im- 
portance and necessity of overcoming the ancient 
prejudices and antipathy existing between the 
German and French nations, sentiments which 
were still found to exist amongst the humbler 
classes. A graceful train of thought, felicitous 
expressions, and charming verses, were enthusiasti- 
cally applauded. The representation took place on 
the 1st of October, and was not open to the public ; 
a mode of proceeding that was blamed, for it had 
been intended that this piece should touch the 
public mind. It is true that few of the people of 
the humbler classes spoke French, and perhaps the 
managers remembered that on one or two former 
occasions, when the performance was gratis, the 
audience were not satisfied. 

" Gentlemen," said they, " we have remained to 
the very end : you ought to give us something to 
drink.'' 

The Princess Christina of Saxony, abbess of 
Remiremont, was present at the comedy, as well as 
several foreign princes and seigniors, with all the 
nobility of Alsace. 

M, Gerard had succeeded, as royal pTeteu7', to 
the baron d'Antigny, who had succeeded his uncle, 
M. Gayot. The latter was as much esteemed for 

VOL. I O 



194 MEMOIRS OF 

his scrupulous honesty as for the vigour and extent 
of his understanding. He obtained the office of 
general administrator for the war department, and 
died some few years since. M. Gerard was the 
bearer of some gold medals to the king, the royal 
family, and the luinisters. On one side was the 
head of Louis XY I., and on the other, ' Ai^gentora- 
tum felix votis ssecularibus, 1781/ It was Pro- 
fessor Oberlin who composed this inscription. 

I was not present at these fetes, but I received 
an account of them from several friends and mem- 
bers of my family. I collected the particulars 
carefully, believing that the like may not be seen 
again for a hundred years, if ever. I love all that 
is rare and curious. 

I spoke awhile ago of the Princess Christina of 
Saxony, abbess of Pemiremont, and I am happy 
to have an opportunity of speaking of her more in 
detail. The chapter of Pemiremont is very inte- 
resting ; it possesses many remarkable peculiarities, 
all of which I inquired into minutely. We often 
met the Princess Christina, and several of the lady 
canonesses at Montb^liard and Strasburg. They 
were almost continually en route, though there 
was a great deal of amusement carried on at the 
abbaye, and much company received in the private 
aj^artments of the princess as well as au bdtiment 
des etrangers. 



THE BARONESS D^OBERKIRCH. 195 

The noble chapter of St. Pierre de Remiremont, 
situated in the diocese of St, Di^, was founded in 
620, by St. Romaric. It is composed of an abbess 
and two dignitaries ; la doyenne and la secrete. 

There are besides the almoniere and la soariere. 
The canonesses do not make vows ; they may re- 
turn to the world, and even marry. Each has the 
right of choosing a niece, that is to say, a coadju- 
trix, who is to succeed her ; and it is necessary 
that each should prove, both by father and mother, 
a noble descent for nine generations, or 225 years. 

The lady-nieces pay six hundred livres yearly to 
the lady-aunts for their support. 

The canonesses are seculars, and under the im- 
mediate control of the holy see. The abbess is a 
princess of the empire, and enjoys regal privileges. 
The chapter has the right of fixing the share that 
it contributes to the expenses of the state, and has 
courts of high, low, and moyenne justice in 
Sdn^chaussde of Remiremont. 

The canonesses wear a cross, on which is an 
image of St. Romaric attached to a wide blue 
ribbon stripped with red, which they wear scarf- 
wise from the right shoulder to the left. 

The chapter has always enjoyed the immediate 
protection of the crown, since the days of its 
founder, St. Romaric, who was a prince of the 
royal blood, even to our own time. The duke of 

o2 



196 IVIEMOIRS OF 

Lorraine used to come in person to Remiremont, 
to swear to protect the rights of the abbaye, and 
to punish any who should invade them. Tliis 
ceremony was conducted with great pomp ; the 
officers of the abbaye, the twelve canons cures, and 
chaplains, attended in their robes of ceremony. 
Amongst the prerogatives of the abbess, the most 
valuable was that of setting free, on certain days, 
all the prisoners in the conciergerie. 

At the period of which I speak, a difficulty had 
arisen about a matter of discij)line between the 
ladies-aunts and the ladies-nieces. The latter had 
the power of voting only by the voice of the aunt ; 
they wished to emancipate themselves from this 
tutellage, and to give their suffi-ages freely. This 
discussion caused a great deal of scandal, or at least 
a great ^clat, which was followed by a lawsuit. 

As to the rest, there was a gTeat deal of liberty 
allowed in this establishment, which had, on the 
whole, a very worldly air. The prebendaries, and 
with a still better right, the nieces, dressed ac- 
cording to the prevaihng fashion, without, how- 
ever, laying aside the cross and ribbon, which 
characterize the chapter and the dignity. 

The Princess Christina took the part of the 
young canonesses. This lady was kind even to 
weakness, and unfortunately of a revolting ugli- 
ness. She generally abode in Strasburg, and 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 197 

always treated me with great kindness and affec- 
tion. She had been elected in '73 to succeed the 
Princess Anne Charlotte of Lorraine. Ladies of 
the highest rank, both French and foreigners, 
ambitioned the honour of being admitted into this 
house, which offers many attractions ; its in- 
habitants enjoying the liberty of married women 
without the incumbrance of a husband, who may 
torment and contradict them. I will not become 
the echo of the reports and accusations which have 
been so often made against the chapters. Perfec- 
tion cannot be expected in human institutions ; 
all have their share of good and evil. 

During my illness we lost the Baron Christian 
de Wimpffen, who had been made field-marshal 
the preceding year, inspector of the troops, and 
commander of St. Louis. He was an officer of 
distinguished merit, one whom my father esteemed 
highly, and who was deeply regretted. Colonel 
de Wimpffen, who had succeeded M. de Flachsland 
in the command of the regiment de Bouillon, was 
present at the interment, and appeared to be 
deeply affected. Baron Christian de Wimpffen 
possessed great influence during the ministry of 
M. de Saint Germain, of whom he may be called 
the right hand, for which reason he has been 
severely blamed for the ordinance that required 
from those who entered the regiments the same 



198 MEMOIRS OF 

proofs as from the pupils of the military school, 
that is to say, four degrees of nobility. This 
ordinance has been blamed as impolitic. M. de 
WimpfFen was not an Alsatian, he was a German 
of the Suabian circle ; his family was numerous, 
and his brothers served in Germany. 

M. de Saint Germain, of whom I spoke awhile 
since, has been frequently judged by public opinion, 
and almost always unjustly. What I say on this 
subject may be relied on, my family connections 
having placed me in a position to know many 
things about this minister, whose intentions and 
talents have been, I venture to say, misunderstood. 

Born in Franche Comte, near Lons-le-Saulnier, 
he quitted the French service, in which he held the 
rank of under-lieutenant, for that of the elector pa- 
latine, of Austria, Bavaria, and Russia He re- 
entered France as field- marshal, and was engaged 
in the war of ^56. In consequence of some differ- 
ences with M. de Broglia, he suddenly entered the 
Danish service, and afterwards retired to Lauter- 
bach in Alsace. He had lost his fortune by a bank- 
ruptcy in Hamburg. The German regiments sub- 
scribed for his use an income of sixteen thousand 
livres, until he received a pension from the king. 
He emj^loyed his time at Lauterbach in considera- 
tions on the military tactics of France, and the fruits 
of these labours he dedicated to M. de Maurepas, a 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 199 

circumstance that brought him into notice, and 
was the cause of his being made minister. 

M. de Saint Germain had the best intentions • 
he wished to reform abuses and to introduce 
stricter disciphne into the army, but he did not 
possess the firmness necessary to carry his ideas 
into effect. From the first he yielded to the 
opinions of persons in power, and from that mo- 
ment became incapable of realizing the good that 
he had contemplated. It was against his will that 
he entered into the ministry. M. de Maurepas ad- 
vised Louis XVI. to give M. de Saint Germain the 
place which had become vacant by the death of 
Marshal du Muy. It was with difficulty that he 
was induced to accept office, and consented only 
when urged by the solicitations of his intimate 
friend, M. Dubois, preteur de Schelstadt, and by 
his brother, the Abbe Dubois. He set out for 
Fontainebleau, and M. de Maurepas was so eager to 
present him to the king that he conducted him to 
his majesty's cabinet in his travelling dress, which 
was a coarse coat worn in his rustic excursions, and 
a round wig, M. de Saint Germain was not long 
a lion; he was found to be too sincere, and his 
place was given to the prince de Montbarrey, father 
of the princess of Nassau-Saarbruck, of whose mar- 
riage I have spoken. 

Scarcely was I recovered, or at least convalescent, 



200 MEMOIRS OF 

than it was necessary to inform me of an event 
which overwhelmed us all mth horror. The ne- 
phew of General Wurmser, our relative, had met a 
most tragical death, one deeply afflicting to those 
most nearly connected with him. He had been 
very wild and extravagant, had squandered his for- 
tune, and frequented company so unfit for him 
a,nd so disreputable, that his uncle thought himself 
obliged to obtain an order from the king, and put 
him into a place of confinement. Before being put 
into the citadel he was placed in a solitary prison 
of the abbey. Despair seized his soul, but a de- 
spair so calm and resigned in appearance, that the 
persons about him were deceived. The gaoler was 
moved to compassion by his lot, not that he was 
bribed, for the unhappy young man had no money, 
having been obliged to give up at his arrest the 
little that he still possessed ; but he entreated so 
earnestly, and manifested so sincere a repentance, 
that he obtained all that he asked. The gaoler 
began by procuring him viands a little more deli- 
cate than those allowed. He afterwards went so 
far as to give him a knife and fork, which he very 
much desired. He had been denied every comfort 
and convenience, and it must be confessed that 
these measures were very severe. He had several 
times implored the clemency of his family, and of 
the king, but in vain ; they were deaf to his prayers. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 201 

Frantic at being treated as a criminal, he deter- 
mined to die, and with the dinner knife that he 
had obtained from the gaoler he inflicted on himself 
several dreadful wounds, and died in the arms of 
the turnkey, exhausted from loss of blood, before a 
physician could be brought. He wrote upon the 
wall a few lines, which I have never forgotten ; and 
had the Almighty made me mother of a son, and had 
he been led astray by the errors of youth, the lines 
traced by my unhappy cousin would have certainly 
regulated my conduct towards him. Poor Wurm- 
ser ! my heart aches in thinking of his fate. The fol- 
lowing lines are a sad transcript of his sufferings : — 
" I cannot brook dishonour, and the position in 
which my relatives have placed me is become in- 
supportable. Their cruel severity will render me 
still more guilty, for I cannot endure the unjust 
treatment of which I am the victim. If they had 
appealed to my heart it would have responded to 
the voice of affection. I am about to die because 
I am forced to it ; I am about to expiate my faults 
in yielding up my life. I pardon those who are 
the cause of my death, as I beg of God to pardon 
me ; but cannot help regretting existence when I 
reflect that I might have been happier if I had 
been wiser, and that I might have repaired my 
faults, if I had not been placed in a position that 
rendered atonement impossible. Farevv^ell to all 



202 MEMOIRS OF 

those I love ; I do not say to those who love me, 
for there are none such. May heaven preserve 
them from despah, and spare them such sufferings 
as I have endured \" 

M. d'Oberkirch and I were deeply afflicted, ab- 
solutely overcome with grief on reading these 
touching lines. The death of poor Wurmser made 
more noise than was agreeable to his family — the 
newspapers were full of it. We received from all 
parts compliments of condolence, with which we 
would willingly have dispensed. Our mourning, 
and it was really such, was combined mth that of 
the family of Montbeliard, who lost within a short 
space of time two of their members. First, on the 
7th of February '82, the mfe of the Margrave 
Frederick Henry of Brandenburg-Schwadt, uncle 
to the princess. The deceased was a princess of 
Anhalt-Dessau, and had attained her si-xty-sixth 
year. On the 7th of May of the same year died 
the duchess-dowager of Wurtemberg, a princess of 
Brandenburg-Schwadt, aunt by her mother to her 
royal highness, and mdow of the royal heir of the 
elder branch, whose death was the cause of the 
duchy passing to the reigning branch. The dow- 
ager died in her eighty-first year. 

The Grand-duchess Marie wore mourning for 
these relatives during some days immediately on 
her arrival in Paris. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 203 



CHAPTER IX. 

Party before my departure — M. Lagensteeker— Officers of 
the Alsatian regiment — Departure — Dowager baroness 
of Oberkirch — The CathoHc branch — M. de Butler andM. 
de Soettern — The Marquis of Talarn — Luneville — King 
Stanislaus — The gendarmes — Marshal Stainville — Prince 
Monaco— M. de Stainville and the regent — The Zuck- 
mantels — The countess of Lenencourt — The grands 
chevaux of Lorraine — The second order of knighthood — 
M. Franck, the great patriot — TheHelvetius family — The 
Andlaus — The countess of Ligneville — Nancy — Cathe- 
dral of Toul —The crabs— Naivete of an innkeeper — The 
rock of Sisyphus — The custom-house officers — Chalons- 
sur-Marne — Champagne and Rhine wine — Paris — Prin- 
cess Baratinski — Champigny — The marchioness de la 
Salle — The dresses of the countess du Nord— Supper 
Vvith Baroness Hahn - 1 go to Fontainebleau to meet the 
countess du Nord. 

I PASSED my last evening in Strasburg in my own 
bouse, in company with several officers of the re- 
giment of Alsace, who had leave of absence. There 
was, in the first place, M. de Lagensteeker, com- 
manding-colonel, one of the most ridiculous per- 
sonages that I have ever known in my life. Very 
brave, very honourable, but inconceivably silly, 
believing himself, with the best faith in the world, 
to be un homme a bonnes fortunes, and convinced 



204 IVIEMOIRS OF 

that lie was the sovereign arbiter of the destiny of 
every female heart within the circle of his acquaint- 
ance. On the day of which I speak he made the 
m.ost touching lamentations about his not being 
able to go to Paris, where ma^ny a gentle heart 
sighed for his coming. Whilst speaking thus he 
was surrounded by young men, of whom almost 
every one was handsome, of noble appearance, and 
intellectual taste, but the worthy colonel fancied 
that he far outshone them all, as well by the 
graces of his mind as by the charms of his person. 
There were present, during this scene, baron de Gail 
and Baron Schauenbourg, captains ; count de Rei- 
nach and count de Froberg, lieutenants ; count de 
Mountureux, le chevalier de la Salle, baron de 
"Wangen, sub-lieutenants — all serving under the 
orders of Colonel Lagensteeker, and all obliged, on 
that account, to listen in silence to his observa- 
tions, but all laughing immoderately when his 
back was turned. We had also at this farewell 
meeting my cousin, Baron Waldner, who had just 
been appointed adjutant-major in the Swiss regi- 
ment de Waldner, at that time in garrison in 
Cherbourg. He set off next morning with the 
chevalier de Langalerie, an officer of the same 
corps. M. d'Oberkirch remarked, laughingly, that 
my drawing-room on that evening was a miniature 
barrack — all my guests were in military uniform. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 205 

We all wished each other a happy journey as we 
separated, and the next morning, at the break of 
day, we set out for Quatzenheim, where we were 
to pass the day, in order to arrange some affairs. 

I was the happiest person in the world ; I did 
not know how I could sufficiently thank M. d'Ober- 
kirch for the pleasure he procured me. I did not 
close my eyes during the night I passed at Quat- 
zenheim ; and when morning came, I aroused the 
others, and we set off, my husband, I, and my 
femmie de chawibre, the excellent Schneider, that 
devoted being who, I hope, will never leave me. 
Schneider was not the least happy of the caravan, 
and plumed herself on the advantage she enjoyed 
over Madame Hendel, who, poor woman, was 
obliged to remain at Montbeliard, and who had 
almost fallen ill from vexation in thinking that she 
should not see the grand-duchess. We had beside 
in our suite two men servants. Our carriage, 
which could contain four persons, was excellent. 
We went with our own horses as far as Saarbourg, 
after having dined at Savern. My mother-in-law 
and my daughter accompanied us thus far. My 
mother-in-law, the dowager baroness d'Oberkirch, 
was at that time seventy-four years of age ; and it 
was not without some vexation that I confided to 
her my dear Mary. She was very fond of her ; 
but I dreaded her temper, which was extremely 



206 MEMOIRS OF 

disagreeable ; I feared that the child might be 
frightened, and might become disheartened. Our 
two cousins, Messrs. Christian and Frederick d'Ober- 
kirch, came also to pass some moments mth us 
They came from Molsheim where they lived, and 
where they have a pretty house, in the fashion of 
a modern chateau, situated outside the city on the 
banks of the Bruche. These are the representa- 
tives of the Catholic branch. The entire family of 
Oberkirch had embraced Protestantism at the 
period of the Reformation ; but my husband's 
great-grandfather abjured Protestantism on the 
12th December ^41, at the age of seventy-four, as 
did his second son, Frederick Leopold d'Oberkirch, 
captain in the regiment of Bernhold. He is the 
root of this branch. The Messrs. d'Oberkirch are 
then cousins-german of my husband, and have 
always been very friendly with us. Frederick is 
forty-five years old ; he has served in the gen- 
darmes de la garde, and afterwards as captain in 
the royal German cavalry. 

I wept much in parting from my daughter, it 
was a real grief to me ; and, but for my deep 
affection for the Grand-duchess Marie, I should 
have been tempted, in that sad moment, to re- 
nounce my journey. At length, M. d'Oberkirch 
hurried me away, although he was deeply affected 
himself I gave a thousand cautions, and made a 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 207 

thousand entreaties to my mother-in-law, who 
always replied, 

" Make your mind easy, my daughter/' 
This answer, constantly repeated, would have 
given me the vapours, if I had been a petite Tnai- 
tresse. Schneider wept also, for which I was about 
to pick a quarrel with her ; — she left no beloved child 
behind her. In passing through Phelsbourg, we 
met Madame de Soettern, Colonel and Madame de 
Butler, who were come thither expressly to see us. 
We remained more than a hour with them. The 
Butlers are relations of the family de Lort, with 
whom I am very intimate, and with Mademoiselle 
de la Salle, of whom I will speak hereafter. 
M. de Soettern is of the family of the celebrated 
Philip Christopher de Soettern, elector of Treves, 
who was carried off from his capital in 1639, and 
kept ten years in prison by the Spaniards, as a 
punishment for having placed himself under the 
protection of Louis XIII. This act of violence 
was one of the reasons of the war between France, 
Spain, and the emperor. 

The marquis de Talarn, governor of Phelsbourg, 
does 'not reside there. This situation is worth 
twelve thousand livres annually. The marquis is 
also lieutenant-general, grand cross of St. Louis, 
and hereditary maitre d'hotel to the queen. 

I was touched by the affection of my friends. 



208 MEMOIRS OF 

and would have wished to remain longer with 
them ; but it was impossible. It had rained the 
entire day, the roads were very deep, a perfect sea 
of puddle as far as Saarbourg, where it was 
arranged that we should pass the night. I was 
very much fatigued from the effects of the first 
day's journey ; and when I was obliged to resume 
my route at half-past five next morning, I found 
the order rather severe. 

We had sent back our own horses and determined 
to travel post the remainder of the way. Six horses 
were put to our carriage, and we arrived in time for 
dinner at Luneville, a city of Lon^aine, in which 
the good King Stanislaus resided so long. The 
gendarmerie are in garrison there, and this noble 
body of men is the sole military force in the country. 
They give laws to the citizens, and even to the 
nobility, and all that in the most graceful manner 
in the world. They are greatly beloved — some say 
too much so ; one thing is, however, certain, that 
they find themselves very happy here. We walked 
in the gardens of the castle, which are handsome, 
though somewhat neglected. 

We were to pass the night at Nancy, the capital 
of Lorraine, in the diocese of Toul. We stopped, 
a half league from the city, at M. de Stainville's 
(Choiseul) mansion of Malgrange. Lieutenant- 
general de Stainville was ten years governor of the 



THE BARO^TESS d'OBERKIRCH. 209 

city of Strasburg, and commander-in-chief in Lor- 
raine ; he afterwards replaced the Marshal de Con- 
tades in his situation of governor, and was appointed 
marechal of France precisely a month after onr 
visit. His daughter had married, in the preceding 
April, Prince Joseph of Monaco, second son of the 
sovereign prince of that name. The eldest, duke 
de Valentinois, became, several years after, the 
husband of Mdlle. d'Aumont. The marechal was 
fond of relating the following anecdote : 

His grandfather, minister plenipotentiary of the 
duke of Lorraine, at the court of the regent, was 
one day met by this prince, at the moment 
when he was furiously excited against the duke, of 
whose conduct he thought he had reason to com- 
plain. He became still warmer as he spoke, as was 
customary with him, and at length went so far as 
to say — 

" I really believe, M. de Stain ville, that your master 
means to trifle with me/' 

" Monseigneur,'' replied M. de Stainville, proudly, 
" the duke, my master, has not commissioned me to 
inform your royal highness.'' 

Mesdames de Zuckmantel and de Bernhold (the 
latter was a relative of mine) were staying at 
Malgrange, and it was for them especially that 
my visit was intended. Madame de Zuckmantel, 
widow of General Zuckmantel, cordon rouge was 

VOL. I. P 



210 MEMOIRS OF 

cousin to the ancient ambassador of this name. 
The Zuckmantels are one of the oldest and most 
influential families of Lower Alsace, and can claim 
kindred with a princess-abbess de Saint Odile of 
the sixteenth century. Madame de Zuckmantel 
lives in Paris during the winter, where she keeps a 
very brilliant establishment. I had not seen her 
for a long time, and we were delighted to meet 
again. We found also at Malgrange the countess 
de Lenoncourt, the countess de Man, and Madame 
Franck, the Ammeister. All these persons received 
us with marks of the warmest friendship, and gave 
us interesting accounts of the fetes given at the 
Hotel de Ville at Paris, in honour of the birth of 
the dauphin. All congratulated me upon my 
journey to Paris, where I had reason to expect so 
much pleasure. I took little part in the conver- 
sation, my impatience to reach the end of my 
journey was too great to allow me to give much 
attention to what was going on around. I was so 
preoccupied with the desire of beholding my dear 
princess, that I would not msh to delay a moment 
en route. 

The nobility of Lorraine is very numerous, man}'- 
of whom bear titles peculiar to this duchy. The 
four principal families are called les grands che- 
vaux (the grepvt horses). These are — 

D'Harancourt, Lenoncourt, Ligneville, du Cha- 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 211 

telet. The next branch of the nobility consists of 
those branches that descend in the female line, and 
are entitled to rank with those already mentioned. 
They are — 

Stain ville, Ludre, Saffre, d'Hausonville, Lane- 
bert^e, Gournay, Fiquelmont, d'Durches, Helmstadt, 
Marie, MauMon, Mercy, Hunolstein. 

These high families furnish canonesses to the 
chapters of Lorraine, where there are several. They 
seldom come to the court of France, and scarcely 
look upon themselves as French. Madame de 
Lenoncourt had been a widow for more than thirty 
years, and was a very handsome old lady, whose 
sole cause of vexation was that she had no children. 

In default of male heirs the name of Lenoncourt 
has been assumed by the family of Soublet d'Hen- 
dicourt. Madame de Lenoncourt doated on 
Madame Franck, the wife of the Ammeister of 
Strasburg, who came to visit her every morning, 
without which attention she would have felt wretched 
during the day. This title of A'mmeister is borne by 
the chief of the petty council (which is that of the 
citizens) of the city. M. Franck was one of the 
best men in the world, and maintained the old re- 
publican notions of Strasburg independence. The 
cause of his installation into the functions of 
Ammeister is sufficiently strange to merit being 
recorded. 

p2 



212 MEMOIRS OF 

His predecessor had given in his resignation in 
consequence of some discussions with the preteur- 
Toyal, and no person could be found to fill the 
office of AinimieisteT. The speeches and writings 
of M. Franck had made him popular with the 
humbler classes ; and as he had said publicly that 
no good citizen could refuse the office oi Ani^nieister, 
or decline taking his seat in the council even 
though he were dyings he was taken at his word^ 
and appointed. It so hapj)ened that he was very 
ill at the time ; the populace rushed in crowds to 
his house, obliged him to quit his bed, and carried 
him in triumph through the street, cr3dng out — 

" Long live the great patriot \" 

This scene nearly cost him his life, but acquired 
him for ever this flattering title, though I strongly 
suspect that he repented a little of the warmth 
that urged him to put forth such dangerous maxims ; 
and I beheve that he would have preferred not 
being so great a patriot at the price that he paid 
for his honours. One thing is, however, certain ; 
that he was more cautious ever after, and never 
again harangued his fellow-citizens upon the 
imperative obligation of discharging civic duties. 
How numerous are these Utopian j)atriots, who 
falter when they are called upon to put their 
principles into practice ! 

Madame de Man, whom we also met at M. de 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 213 

Stain ville's, was daughter to M. Helvetius, tlie 
queen's physician, and sister to the countess 
d'Andlau. M. Helvetius, all fermier-general as 
he was, had married Mdlle. de Ligneville, who had 
nothing, and who made a low match for the sake 
of money. The countess de Man was at that time 
on a visit with her sister the countess d'Andlau^ 
niece to the baron d'Andlau, who lived at Colmar, 
and had married the mother of Madame de Genlis. 
The counts d'Andlau are two brothers. One 
commanded the regiment of the Royal Lorraine 
cavalry, and was afterwards plenipotentiary at 
Brussels. The Andlaus established in Lorraine 
are a branch of the d' Andlaus of Alsace ; so nume- 
rous and extensive is this family. The title borne 
by the head of the house is — Chief of the four 
hereditary knights of the holy Roman empire. 
His arms are quartered with an imperial mantle. 

We passed the entire day at Malgrange. They 
wished to keep us there for the evening, but we 
preferred returning to Nancy, where we were to 
meet my brother-in law, who was captain in the 
Berehigny hussars, garrisoned at Saint-Mihel, and 
who came on purpose to see us. This is my hus- 
band's youngest brother ; his wife is a Rathsam- 
hausen. 

Before entering the city we stopped at Notre 
Dame de Bon Secours, as we wished to visit the 



214 , MEMOIRS OF 

tombs of tlie king and queen of Poland, who are 
buried in this chapel. The mausoleums are of 
white marble, on which are beautifully- sculptured 
gracefully-arranged groups of allegorical figures. 
That good king Stanislaus has left many touching 
remembrances in this country ; he was adored by 
all around, and deservedly, for he did an immensity 
of good. I was penetrated with deep emotion 
whilst standing before that tomb ; I reflected that 
all must die, however beloved, however powerful ; 
and I pondered deeply on the folly of attaching 
ourselves to the things of this world, where we are 
to pass so short a time. 

My brother-in-law awaited us, and it was with 
gi^eat pleasure that we met him. All along our 
route had we received testimonies of sincere affec- 
tion : ours was indeed a journey of love. We went 
out to see the new city, which is very handsome, 
and very well built. La Place Carriere and la Place 
E-oyale are very fine. La Pepiniere is a charming 
promenade, where we met many persons of quality, 
who were delighted to see us. We received as 
many invitations as would have kept us two weeks 
at Nancy, had we accejDted them all. M. d'Ober- 
kirch met, amongst others, two counts de Ligne- 
ville that he had formerly known ; one, captain of 
a vessel, who had married a Miss Count, the other, 
sub-heutenant in the royal guards, a very hand- 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 215 

some man, much admired by the ladies, and who 
appeared to be in the style of the colonel of 
Alsace. 

The city of Nancy appeared to be a very agree- 
able place of residence. There was a large number 
of nobility, a great display of magnificence, exqui- 
site dresses, and gallant officers, amongst whom 
the gendarmerie of Luneville held an honourable 
place ; however, I do not know whether I would 
not prefer Strasburg. We are, it is true, less 
elegant and more grave, but we are, it appears to 
me, more dignified and more consistent in our 
principles. It is very easy to be honest and vir- 
tuous in a country like Alsace, where the tempta- 
tions to err are few, where a spirit of severe 
morality reigns, and where public opinion con- 
demns the slightest indiscretion ; but at Nancy, as 
at Paris, and as at court, society is quite different ; 
pleasures and gallantry form the sole occupation of 
the fashionable world, and grave, steady people are 
looked upon as prudes. There is under such an 
influence a certain laxity of word and action, 
which, though I do not say that it is vice, yet 
borders upon it, and may give ground for suspicion. 
Whilst speaking thus I am well aware that appear- 
ances are deceitful, and that before forming an 
opinion in any case, one should maturely consider 
all the circumstances, and, as the wise man said, 



216 MEMOIRS OF 

turn tliem seven times in one's head. It is so tliat 
I would wish to act. 

We left Nancy on Saturday the 14th of May, at 
ten in the morning. The weather was delightful. 
We travelled quickly, the roads were good, not so 
good, hoAvever, as those of Alsace. My brother-in- 
law stayed at Nancy, wdiere an in\dtation to a 
dinner party delayed him. We passed on to Toul, 
where we only stopped long enough to change 
horses, and to visit the cathedral. It is a superb 
Gothic edifice. We were particularly struck by 
one chapel, which was literally of stone-lace. I 
love these ancient churches, and can well compre- 
hend the effect produced on the minds of Catholics 
by these grand buildings, with their dim light and 
lofty arches, where sound is mellowed into sonorous 
sweetness. 

We dined at Void, a little borough in the diocese 
of Toul. I remarked, with astonishment, that in 
the little road-side inn where we stojDped the cook- 
ing was excellent, though the house was frequented 
only by the humbler classes. We got excellent 
crabs, as large as lobsters ; I have never seen any 
as good, even on the tables of princes. M. d'Ober- 
kirch amused himself by making our host come 
up, that he might pay him a compliment. He 
came, cap in hand, scraping with his left foot, 
which is a manner of salutation peculiar to the 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 217 

peasants of Lorraine, and which our worthy host 
performed in a most comical manner. 

" Where do you get such fine crabs ?'' asked I. 
" You rear them yourself, I suppose V 

" Oh, no, madam, we would not be able to do 
that ; they would eat us at last/' 

I thought the naivete of the reply admirable, 
and M. d'Oberkirch laughed outright. 

We passed the night at St. Dizier, in Champagne. 
This is a dreary and uninteresting country. St 
Dizier is a nasty little town, where one sees nothing 
but detestable inns. I did not close my eyes during 
the night I passed there. I was kept awake by an 
assembly of carters, who had taken their station 
beneath my window, and were endeavouring to 
load a cart with an enormous bale, which conti- 
nually rolled back, like the rock of Sisyphus. They 
expended on this occasion a quantity of words and 
oaths that would have excused their keeping silence 
for a fortnight after. 

The next morning, before our departure, the 
custom-house officers made a feint of going through 
the ceremony of searching us. Their eyes were 
scarcely open, for it appeared that, on the previous 
evening, these gentlemen had indulged in a de- 
bauch, a quantity of wine seized from a smuggler 
having furnished the means. They scarcely opened 
our trunks, to the great delight of the worthy 



218 MEMOIRS OF 

Schneider, who was very anxious to give them 
something to drink. 

" Oh, they have drunk too much,'' said M. 
d'Oberkirch, "leave them alone." 

" On the contrary, my dear,'' replied I, ' ' they 
have only just drunk enough ; a little more and 
they would have been quarrelsome, a little less, 
and they would have been cross, and insisted on 
searching everything." 

These gentlemen carried their politeness so far 
as to assist our servants to replace the portmanteaus 
and trunks, and we gave them at last, in recom- 
pense for so many attentions, the means of resuming 
the occupation of the previous evening. I have no 
doubt but that they drank our health, and that of 
the smuggler, with all the honours. 

On the 1 5th we stopped to refresh ourselves at 
Chalons-sur-Marne, the capital of ChamiDagne ; I 
should not much like to live in this city. I thought 
the air very bad. I hope I may be allowed to make 
this remark without offending anybody, as my cen- 
sure is directed exclusively against the walls. We 
slept at Dormans, another little city of Champagne ; 
we were very much fatigued when we arrived. It 
had rained incessantly from the time we left St. 
Dizier ; the roads were abominable ; and though 
our carriage was excellent, I was jolted almost to 
death. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 219 

It was a pity tliat the weather was so bad, for 
this portion of Champagne, all along the Marne, is 
very beautiful. One sees on every side luxuriant 
corn-fields and vineyards, handsome domains and 
country-houses, and superb plantations. We were 
not able to enjoy this lovely prospect, for we were 
obliged to keep the carriage windows closed on 
account of the rain which beat sharply in our faces. 

We got on in this fashion to Epernay, which may 
be considered the capital of that part of Cham- 
pagne, where the best wine is grown. We wished 
to taste it in its native soil ; and, though my taste 
may be condemned as barbarous, I must confess 
that I prefer our wines of Alsace and those from 
the banks of the Rhine. 

On the 16th we arrived at Meaux, the capital of 
Upper Brie, a large city peopled with merchants, 
but also very muddy and very black. It is in this 
neighbourhood that the celebrated cheeses are ma- 
nufactured, which take their name from the pro- 
vince. They are sent to all parts of Europe ; we 
have often had them at Strasburg. 

At length we got a glimpse of the great capital, 
and soon after entered it. There is nothing striking 
in the first view of Paris, but th^ bustle, the crowds, 
the continual movement. The districts that I tra- 
versed did not seem to me more beautiful than our 
provincial towns. One should abide in Paris to 



220 MEMOIRS OF 

learn to appreciate it. We alighted at my nncle'Sj 
the count de Waldner, who lived in the Chaus^e 
d^Antin, and who gave ns possession of his apart- 
ments, being at the time in the country mth his 
wife. We found everything very comfortable, and 
I made myself at once quite at home. 

As soon as I awoke next morning, I was pre- 
sented mth a letter from Madame de Beckendorf, 
who was accompanying the countess du Nord in 
her tour. She prayed me, on the part of the 
princess, to go with M. d'Oberkirch as far as 
Fontainebleau to meet her. This kindness of the 
countess du Nord touched me deeply, and I imme- 
diately replied that I would obey her wishes, which 
I did with all imaginable delight. 

I had scarcely finished my note, when Prince 
Baratinsky, the Kussian minister, was announced. 
He came also in the name of my dear princess to 
speak to me of her journey, to tell me all the places 
where she had stopped, how she was, that she was 
not at all fatigued from travelling, and that she 
was longing to see me. By this it "will be seen 
that no person could be more affectionate than this 
adorable Princess Marie was to me. 

The following day the Prince Baratinsky set off 
for Fontainebleau to meet their imperial highnesses. 
I was fully resolved to do the like, and the prospect 
of so soon meeting the princess filled me with joy_ 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 221 

I 

Prince Baratinsky was, like all tlie Russians of 
the court of Catherine, a very distinguished man. 
His manners were very elegant, and I can assure 
you that there was nothing of the Goth or Sarma- 
tian about him. 

Our next visitor was the baroness de Hahn, of 
whom I have already spoken, whose husband was 
colonel attache in the regiment of Anhalt. She 
was to return next day to Strasburg. I sent by 
her a thousand tendernesses to my daughter, and 
my respects to my mother-in-law, who was very 
generally respected in the family, though little 
loved. Her temper was terrific, though her heart 
was good ; but to live with her would be an impos 
sibility. Still my daughter was happy during her 
stay with her, and I had no cause to regret having 
confided her to the care of her grandmother. 

After this visit we went to bed very much 
fatigued, very much agitated ; we could scarcely 
sleep, as is generally the case when one is excited. 

\7th May, — We rose early, and set out for Cham- 
pagny, where my uncle, the count de Waldner, 
lived ; we wished to pay him our respects. He 
had purchased in this place a very pretty country- 
house, where he lived the greater part of the year. 
He received us with open arms, as if were his own 
children. My dear uncle was so changed that I 
was affected even to tears. The poor man could 



222 MEMOIRS OF 

scarcely hold himself upright ; it was necessary to 
help him to go from his arm-chair to his bed. His 
mental faculties seemed to have yielded, like his 
physical, to the pressure of old age. This was a 
melancholy spectacle, particularly when I remem- 
bered what he had been. I left after dinner, my 
heart saddened by what I had beheld. The fatigues 
of a military life had no doubt contributed more 
than age to this mournful change. 

On returning to Paris we paid a visit to the 
marchioness de la Salle, whose husband commanded 
as deputy-lieutenant-general in Alsace. He was a 
man of talent ; the wife is more common-place, 
though she has mixed as much in the fashionable 
world as any woman' in France. She has two sons, 
one of whom has entered the army, the other is still 
a child.* Madame de la Salle was of the family of 
Clermont Chaste, and her mother was a Demoiselle 
de Butler. 

On leaving Madame de la Salle I went to make 
a visit, exclusively feminine, to Madame Bertin, the 
celebrated milliner of the queen. I had been com- 
missioned to call to inquire whether the dresses of 
the grand-duchess were ready. The entire esta- 

* Le chevalier de Caillebot de Lasalle, aide-de-camp to 
the count d'Artois, afterwards Charies X. He came to 
Strasburg in 1814 as commissary extraordinary from the 
kins. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 223 

blisliment was at work for her imperial highness. 
Nothing was to be seen but damasks, dauphines, 
embroidered satins, brocades, and laces. The ladies 
of the court came to see them through curiosity, 
but it was forbidden to make the like dresses for 
any person until the princess had first worn hers. 
Madame Bertin seemed to me a very odd kind of 
person, inflated with the idea of her own importance, 
and treating princesses as her equals. There is an 
anecdote told of her which I believe to be true. 
A provincial lady came one day to order a head- 
dress for her presentation. The milliner eyed her 
from head to foot : the result of her observations 
must have been satisfactory, for she turned with a 
majestic air towards one of her assistants, and 
said — 

'' Show this lady the result of my last conference 
with her majesty.'^ 

The baroness de Hahn set out the same evening 
she had made us promise to sup with her, which 
on our part we were very willing to do, as it would 
bring us so far on our way to Fontainebleau, where 
we were to meet the countess du Nord. Unfor- 
tunately we could not get post horses for any price. 
M. d'Oberkirch sent, and went himself through all 
Paris, but in vain. I could have wept ! We were 
obliged to be satisfied to wait until next day. It 
was settled that our hired horses should bring us as 



224 MEMOIRS OF 

far as possible on the way to meet their imperial 
highnesses. I could not go to bed, I passed a 
greater part of the night in writing to the princess 
de Montbeliard. My heart was so full that I could 
only commune mth her. I was transported with 
joy and impatience. I was about to behold again 
this beloved friend, this charming princess, who, 
since our childhood, had deigned to call me sister, 
and I was to behold her at the acme of happiness 
and of glory. Thus were my most ardent wishes 
accomplished. 

" Ah ! madame,'' said I to her august mother, 
" I envied your happiness a little while since, it is 
now your turn to envy mine." 

18th May. — The next day in effect we set out, 
travelled three posts quickly, and arrived at Fon- 
tainebleau, where we Avaited from nine until two 
the arrival of the carriages. 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 225 



CHAPTER X. 

Arrival of the countess du Nord — Aifectionate interview — 
Goodness of the countess du Nord — The marchioness of 
Bombelles — Her family — Madame Thavanet — Madame 
de Lou vols— Follies of M. de Louvois — Strange anecdote 
— Mademoiselle Colombe — Crowd at the Russian em- 
bassy — Description of the count du Nord — M. and 
Madame Beckendorf — Prince Kourakin — Generosity of 
the countess du Nord — Procession of the blae ribbons — 
The countess Skawronski — The countess Zoltikoff — 
General Wurmser — Ihe Russian Court at Versailles — 
Baroness Mackan — Prince Baratinsky — Presentation of 
the count and countess du Nord — Timidity of Louis 
XVI. — The count du Nord visits the dauphin — The 
countess of Vergennes— The royal family — The high 
officers of the crown — Marshal Duras — Prince Beauvau — 
Marshal Biron — The countess of Provence — The countess 
of Artois — Concert at court — The queen dispenses with 
the ceremony of my presentation — Her majesty ad- 
dresses me several times — Legros — Madame Mara — 
Supper at Madame Mackan's — Politeness of the count du 
Nord — The opera — Conflagration — Theatre at the Porte 
St. Martin — Rondo — Accident — Goodness of the coun- 
tess du Nord — Presentiment — Petit Trianon — The queen 
of Golconda — M. de Monsigny — Supper at Princess 
Chinay's — Her monkey — The flower-girls of the Pont 
Neuf— Prisoners of " La Force " — The king's reprimand 
to M. St, Louis — The royal children of France — The wives 
of the Crown ministers — M. de Maurepas — Tastes of 
Louis XVI. — The dukes of Aumont and Villequier^ 

VOL. I. Q 



226 MEMOIXiS OF 

The ducliess of Villeroy — M. de la Harpe — The princess 
of Bouillon — The duchess of Bouillon and Mademoiselle 
Lecouvreur — The countess of Halwill — The viscountess 
of Equevilly — The Vautrait — The jargon of fashion. 

At length we heard the sound of wheels, the crack- 
ing of the postilions' whips, the neighing of 
horses, and in another moment the carriage ap- 
peared, and we had all descended into the road. 
The grand-duchess put her head out of the car- 
riage and waved her handkerchief the moment she 
perceived me. The grand-duke alighted and came 
to meet me, greeting me with the politeness and 
kindness of an intimate friend. But my dear prin- 
cess, she overwhelmed me with caresses and en- 
dearments. It was one of the happiest moments 
of my life : my heart beat ^vith inexpressible and 
delightful emotion. We remained locked in each 
others arms for almost five minutes. 

" My best, my dearest Lanele," said she, " how 
delighted I am to see you again!'' 

" And what must I feel V 

After this short interview we returned to Paris 
in the suite of their imperial highnesses, and had 
the honour of accompanying them to their hotel. 
Here I found again my beloved Princess Dorothea, 
as simple, as good, as confiding as she had been 
at Montbeliard She presented me again to the 
grand -duke, saying — 



THE BAROXESS d'oBERKIRCH. 227 

" She is a dear sister to me, and I beg of you to 
love her as you do the other two." 

I was touched almost to tears, and the grand- 
duke, whose affection for his august spouse made 
liim participate in all her feelings, was deeply 
moved as he kissed my hand. The countess du 
Nord then spoke to me of her children, of whom 
she was idolatrously fond. 

" Although I hear by every post of my dear 
children, Alexander and Constantino, I feel the 
time very long that I am separated from them. 
Ah ! my dear Lanele, my heart is divided into 
many parts ; it is a sad attendant upon us prin- 
cesses that we can never have around us at one 
time all those we love. And my goddaughter, 
why have you not brought her? I wouJd be so de- 
lighted to embrace her.'' 

We had so much to say to each other, so many 
things to speak of — our husbands, our families, 
everything that had happened since we parted. I 
was very anxious to hear something about the 
Empress Catherine, and the countess du Nord was 
not sparing in her information. We were often 
interrupted (for it rained visits and compliments), 
but spite of all we made considerable progress in 
our confidential communications, by always taking 
up the thread of our conversation where it had 
been broken off. How pleasantly the time passed 

Q2 



228 MEMoms OF 

away as we merrily related our various adventures 
amid peals of laughter, whose gaiety seemed even 
an echo of that of childhood. 

The grand-duchess's suite was magnilicently 
lodged. Madame Beckendorf had a very pretty 
apartment, into which I had retired to rest myself 
for a few moments before supper, when the mar- 
chioness de Bombelles, lady-in-waiting to Princess 
Elizabeth, sister to the king, came in search of me. 
This Madame Bombelles is a very amiable person. 
Her husband has succeeded his father-in-law. 
Baron Mackan, as minister of the king at the ge- 
neral diet of the empire, and is seignior of the 
fiefs of Worck and Ackenheim, in Alsace. Her 
father-in-law, Count Bombelles, who holds a 
commission in the French guards, is marshal- 
de-camp, lieutenant-general of the royal armies, 
and commander of the castle and town of 
Bitche, on the frontiers of German Lorraine and 
of Sarre. 

Two daughters of the Bombelles* family are mar- 

* M. de Bombelles, brother of Mesdames Thavanet and 
Louvois, French ambassador at Vienna, became a bishop 
after the death of his wife. He had one daughter, Madame 
Casteja, in the suite of the dauphiness, and three sons who 
were reared in Austria, and became naturahzed Austrians. 
Two of the.5e were made ambassadors. The second eldest 
educated the present emperor. One of them was married 
to her majesty Maria Louisa with the consent of the 
Austrian court. 



THE BAROXESS d'OBER KIRCH. 229 

ried, one to the marquis of Thavanet, the other to 
the marquis of Louvois, who had formerly borne 
the title of Chevalier de Louvre. I am very inti- 
mate with Madame Thavanet, for whom I feel 
the greatest friendship, and with whom I con- 
stantly correspond. She is one of the best, the 
wittiest, and the most charming woman of my 
acquaintance. It is she who has composed the 
song of ' Pauvre Jacques,' of which the words and 
air are both so touching. She had been for some 
time lady-in-waiting to Princess Elizabeth. 

As to Madame Louvois, she was very young, 
at the time of which I write, having been pre- 
sented only the winter before. She was the fourth 
wife of M. de Louvois. His first had been Made- 
moiselle Loguy, who lived but a few years after her 
marriage. His second, baroness Wrienzen d'Hoffel, 
a lady from Holland. He was very extravagant, a 
fact that was very well known, but which did not 
alarm the baroness. She said to him in a very 
agreeable manner as they were returning from 
church, that she hoped he would be wiser for the 
future. 

" I assure you, madam," said he, " that I have 
committed my last folly." 

Short as was the married life of the baroness, 
she had many opportunities of contradicting this 
assertion. He had a mania for marrying. After 



230 MEMOIRS OF 

the death of the baroness he mamed the Countess 
Reichenberg, whose reign was shorter than that of 
either of her predecessors, as she survived the mar- 
riage ceremony but a few months. I know not 
w^hether this chateau contained Blue Beard's closet, 
but I am certain that Majdemoiselle de Bombelles 
showed a great deal of courage in consenting to 
become his fourth wife. 

M. de Louvois had been very mid in his youth, 
and spent his money with marvellous facility. His 
father, irritated by his extravagance, refused to 
supply him wdth the means of continuing his dis- 
orderly career ; and his credit being quite exhausted, 
he was forced to return, like the Prodigal Son, to 
the paternal chateau. He arrived unencumbered 
by a second coat. A large party had been invited 
to dinner ; but as our hero expected the company 
to be rather stupid, he wished not to appear, giving 
his toilet as an excuse. 

" Monsieur," said his father, " I will expect you 
to join this dinner party." 

" I should feel much pleasure, but you see it is 
impossible ! — this coat " 

" Wear another." 

" I have not got it." 

" You have not one ! after spending sixty 
thousand livres with tailors and embroiderers." 

" That would have been a very good reason for- 



THE BAKOXESS D*OBERKIRCH. 231 

merly, but it is no longer so. They are all worn 
out." 

" Get one." 

" Monsieur, tliat is easily said, but to get a 
coat one must bave money ; and — at this mo- 
ment " 

" What ! after borrowing two hundred thousand 
livres from usurers ?" 

" Mon Dieu ! monsieur, I do not mean to con- 
tradict you, but the crowns have followed the coats." 

M. de Louvois raised his eyes and arms to hea- 
ven, uttered an exclamation of anger, and left the 
room : he turned when he got to the door, and 
said — 

" I will not enter into a discussion on your ex- 
travagance, monsieur ; but I will say that I desire 
to see you at my table on the appointed day, and 
that I forbid you to appear there in the coat you 
now wear." 

The chevalier was stunned — embarrassed ; he 
knew not what do. The paternal mandate was 
positive, and he had no hope of future assistance 
from his father if he did not obey him now. He 
called his valet, a second Scapin, and they put all 
their wits to work to find some means of getting 
out of this dilemma ; but in vain, human invention 
seemed unequal to the task. The chevalier was 
distracted ; he paced his chamber in dismay, when, 



232 MEMOIRS OF 

casting his eyes upon the hangings (which repre- 
sented the marriage procession of Alexander and 
Statira), a sudden thought stnick him. 

"Ah !" said he, " I know what I will do. Go 
into the \illage, and bring me the tailor, with all his 
implements, immediately ; and tell him to prepare 
himself to spend the night here." 

" But, M. le Chevalier " 

" Go immediately, and do not reply." 

When the valet had left the room, he proceeded, 
with the greatest coolness, to take down the cur- 
tains off his bed, and lapng them on a table, 
marked out the figures he admired most. The 
tailor was brought. 

" Come, my man," said he, " you must make a 
coat, vest, and culotte out of this ; be sure to 
choose the handsomest ladies for the front, and 
this high priest, with his long beard, will do very 
well for the back." 

The valet and the tailor thought, and with very 
good reason, that their young master was losing his 
senses, but he was so determined that they were 
obliged to obey. 

The suit was finished in time and fitted ex- 
tremely well ; the chevalier was very well pleased, 
and, ha™g comj)leted his toilet, descended to the 
dining-room, which he entered with an imper- 
turbable countenance. He was received mth shouts 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKTRCH. 233 

of laughter. His father was very angry ; but this 
public disgrace obliged him to open his purse for 
his extravagant heir, who with fresh funds re- 
turned to Paris. 

He became very intimate with Mademoiselle 
Colombo, an actress at the Italian comedy ; and 
in a transport of gratitude he one day asked 
her what he could do that would give her 
pleasure. 

" Send me some chatons " (precious stones) said 
she, "to make a necklace.'' Next day she re- 
ceived a box full of little cats (which are also 
called chatons). This jest was equally well 
received at court and in the green-room, which 
unfortunately are beginning to have only too many 
things in common ; some fresh amusement soon 
succeeded, and this refined witticism forgotten. 

We must now return to our illustrious travellers. 
Their residence was at the hotel of the Russian am- 
bassador, formerly the Hotel de Levi, at the corner 
of the Rue de Grammont, and of the old boulevard. 
At their arrival they were received by a crowd of 
respectable persons, and overwhelmed with com- 
pliments and congratulations : they saluted every 
person without distinction. For several days their 
hotel was surrounded by an immense concourse 
constantly crying out — 

" Long live the count and countess du Nord !" 



284< MEMOIRS OF 

Lest there should be any disturbance, an exempt 
was stationed in their hotel, and under their 
immediate authority. 

The count du Nord was at that time twenty- 
eight, having been born on the 1st of October 
1754. His first appearance was not prepossessing. 
He was very small, and his face would be con- 
sidered plain even amongst the northern races ; 
but on a nearer view, his features revealed an 
expression of intelligence and refinement, his eyes 
were brilliant and animated, and, notwithstanding 
the astute smile that played about his lips, his 
countenance wore an habitual air of calmness and 
repose. 

The countess du Nord had become one of the 
most beautiful women in the world. She had 
gro^vn a little taller since she left us, and her 
figure was of the most perfect proportions, she 
moved mth a grace and dignity which I have 
never seen equalled except by our o^vn lovely 
queen. I need give no further description of this 
charming princess, who has long since become 
well known to every reader. 

Besides her lady-in-waiting and another lady of 
her suite, the countess du Nord was accompanied 
by the Baroness Beckendorf, her most intimate 
friend next to me. Colonel Beckendorf was in 
the suite of the grand-duke. His father had ren- 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 235 

dered the name of Beckendorf illustrious by his 
services during the seven years' war. It was he 
who commanded the cavalry which decided the 
fate of the battle of Kollin, in which Frederick II. 
was vanquished. 

The count was also accompanied by Prince 
Kourakin, his friend and companion since child- 
hood. He was very much attached to him, and 
scarcely ever went out without him. This Prince 
Kourakin was not by any means a northern bar- 
barian in his air or manner. On the contrary, he 
eclipsed many of our Parisian elegans at Versailles. 
At Lyons, the countess du Nord had the hap- 
piness of meeting her beloved parents and one of 
her brothers, and of enjoying their delightful 
society during her entire stay in that city. They 
accompanied her as far as Dijon, from whence they 
returned to Montbeliard. Still she was not satis- 
fied ; she complained that they had been forced to 
leave her too soon, that she had not had time to 
say half that she wished. Her thoughts were ever 
with her family ; and often amidst the allurements 
of Paris has she heaved a sigh for the home of her 
childhood ; so ineffaceable are the affections of 
our youth. 

The count du Nord had found amongst the 
guards at Lyons a Russian of good family, who 
had been obliged to leave his country in conse- 



236 MEMOIRS OF 

quence of a false accusation wliich had been brought 
against him there. The prince, dehghted to find 
a compatriot so far from home, immediately 
bought him out of the service, and, presenting 
him with fifty louis, said that at his return to 
St. Petersburgh he would not forget him. The 
count himself told us of this adventure, and 
added, his eyes dim with emotion — 

" So great is the love I bear my country, that 
my greatest ambition would be to make all her 
children happy, and to be the deserving object of 
their affections." 

What grace do not such sentiments add to the 
dignity of a gTeat prince ! 

19th May. — I was obliged to rise at six o'clock to 
get my hair dressed, so great was the demand for 
hair-dressers. I went very early to see the countess 
du Nord, with whom I had a long conversation 
in private. I went home to dress, and then 
returned to dine with the princess. The fashion- 
able hour for dinner was two o'clock. We had 
no strangers. I found the princess lying down 
to rest, and the prince had gone incognito to Ver- 
sailles, where he heard mass, and had been present 
at the procession of the blue ribbons, that is to 
say, of the knights of the order of the Holy Ghost, a 
procession which had been iuwStituted by Louis XIII. 
He returned delighted with the magnificence of 



THE BAROXESS D'oBERKIRCH. 237 

Versailles, the graceful dresses, the elegance of the 
arrangements, and above all, the exquisite beauty 
of the queen. The grand-duchess was a little dis- 
turbed by his praises of her majesty, but she was 
soon reassured by the affectionate smiles of her 
beloved husband. 

After dinner the countess requested me to order 
my carriage, and visit some Russian ladies who were 
then at Paris. Countess Skawronski, Countess 
Bruce, both da^mes a jportrait, that is, who were' 
entitled to wear on their left sides, like the cross of a 
canoness, a miniature of the empress set in diamonds. 
This was considered a very high honour. Countess 
Skawronski, who was a relation of Prince Potem- 
kim, was as lovely as a dream. Countess ZoltikofF, 
a lady of great gentleness and intelligence ; she had 
two daughters, one of whom was extremely hand- 
some. After paying a visit to the countess of 
Thavanet, I returned to sup with the count and 
countess du Nord. The time passed delightfully. 
The count related all that he had seen or heard 
during the morning ; his observations were very 
shrewd. He showed the sagacity of an old courtier 
in divining what was passing behind the scenes. 

It was half-past eleven when I got home, but I 
was too happy to feel fatigue. I found my cousin, 
General Wurmser, waiting for me, not having been 
able to see me during the day, though he called 



238 MEMOIRS OF 

several times. He had formerly been colonel of 
the Alsatian regiment, and became afterwards 
lieutenant-general and grand cross of the order of 
military merit, and inspector-general of German 
regiments. He generally resides at Paris. He was 
this year reposing himself from the fatigues of 
service. He was a most amiable old man, and 
loved us all very much. 

20tk May. — This was a great day. The count 
and countess du Nord, and all the Russian court, 
were to appear at Versailles. The Russian court 
comprised their imperial highnesses, their suite, the 
embassy, and, in some sense, myself. 

We set out early. I went in the gTand-duchess's 
carriage. She was magnificently attired ; she wore 
a dress of brocade, richly embroidered with pearls, 
which hung in gTaceful folds over a large hoop ; her 
ioAvels were the most beautiful I ever saw. I 
thought she never looked so lovely. The grand- 
duke and I could do nothing but admire her. 

" Am I as handsome as the queen ?" she asked 
her husband, archly.- 

Being French I could not be presented with 
their imperial highnesses ; I therefore retired to 
the apartments of the Baroness Mackan, under- 
governess of the royal children of France. Her 
husband, who is an Alsatian, had been, as I have 
before related, royal minister at the diet of the 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 239 

empire. Our families had always been very inti- 
mate. Madame de Mackan, nee de Ficte de Souey, 
for whom I feel a very high esteem, is a very 
distinguished person. Her son, lieutenant -colonel 
of dragoons, with his wife (Mdlle. Alissan de Cha- 
zet*) were presented in '81. The Mackans are 
related to the Bernhausens, a high German family. 

The count du Nord was accompanied during his 
presentation to their majesties and the royal 
family by Prince Baratinsky, the czarina^'s am- 
bassador. The king received him in his cabinet. 
He was announced by M. de Sequeville, usher to 
the ambassadors, and presented in form by M. Live, 
whose office it was to introduce them. The two 
princes saluted each other with much warmth of 
manner. The count said — 

" It gives me great pleasure. Sire, to see your 
majesty ; it was the principal object of my visit to 
France. The empress, my mother, will envy me 
this happiness, for in that, as in everything, our 
sentiments are the same." 

Louis XVI. is very timid, and always a little em- 
barrassed by ceremonials, though custom must 
have made them familiar to him. He replied to 
this compliment with some vague phrases. The 
grand-duke thought this first interview very cool. 

* The mother of M. de Mackan, admiral and baron, 
is Madame de Mackan, nee de Chazet. 



240 MEMOIRS OF 

He then presented two letters to the king, one 
from Naples, the other from Panna. His next 
visit was to the dauphin, whom he embraced with 
much affection, and admired for his beauty. This 
was the eldest dauphin, whom we have lost since. 
His imperial highness addressed many questions to 
the Princess Gu^m^nee, governess of the august 
child, to which she replied with the dignity and pru- 
dence which always characterised her. 

" Madame," said the count du Nord, " often re- 
mind the dauphin of the visit that he has received to- 
day, and of the attachment that I vow to him from 
his cradle, and which I hope will be the pledge of 
the alhance and eternal union of our kingdoms.'' 

These words were repeated to everybody at 
Versailles, and admired for their wisdom and grace. 
Their majesties were delighted. 

In the meanwhile the Countess Vergennes, wife 
of the minister for foreign affairs, presented the 
countess du Nord to the queen and royal prin- 
cesses. The queen was charming, gracious, and 
affable ; she received the countess as if she had 
knoA\Ti her all her life, inquiring minutely what 
were her tastes, and what she could do that would 
give her pleasure. She requested her to visit her 
frequently. The grand-duchess made suitable re- 
plies to these courteous expressions. She came 
away delighted with our sovereign. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 241 

The royal family consisted at that time of 
Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette of Austria. 

Madame Adelaide, ] rn^ ■, ■ -, 

,^1 TT- J. • t ine king's aunts. 

Madame Victoria, ) ° 

Madame Louisa, a Carmelite nun at the convent of 

St. Denis. 

The count of Provence, the king's brother. 

The countess of Provence. 

The count of Artois. 

The countess of Artois. 

The dauphin. 

The princess royal, the king's daughter. 

The duke of Angoul§me, 



HM. J 1 £ -D r Sons of the count of Artois. 

the duke oi Berry, 

Madame Ehzabeth, the king's sister. 

The high offices of the crown were filled by 

Cardinal Rohan, grand almoner. 

Prince Conde, grand master of France, and of the 

king's household. 
Tlae duke of Bourbon, en survivance. 
Prince Rohan-Guemenee, high chamberlain. 
The duke of Bouillon, en survivance. 
Prince Lambese, master of the horse. 
The duke of Brissac, grand pantler. ^ 

The marquis of Verneuil, cupbearer. 
The duke of Penthievre, grand huntsman. 
The count of Vaudreuil, grand falconer. 
The count of Flamarens, (/rcwn? louvetin (wolf-hunter). 
The duke of Penthidvre, admiral of France. 
The marquis of Suze, grand marshal of the Court. 
The marquis of Sourches, grand provost of France. 
The marquis of Tourzel, en survivance (hereditary). 
M. de Maupeon, high chancellor. 
M, Hue de Miromesnil, keeper of the seals. 

The Marshal Duras was first gentleman of the 

bedchamber for the year 1782. 

VOL. L R 



242 MEMOIRS OF 

The prince of Beauvau and the prince of Poix 
were captains of the guard, by hereditary right, for 
the April quarter. 

After seeing their majesties and the princes, the 
count and countess du Nord returned to their pa- 
lace, where they received several visits and pre- 
sentations. Amongst others came Marshal Biron, 
who presented the officers of the French guards. 
The grand-duke expressed great admiration for 
these military gentlemen. 

The Russian court dined with the royal family 
of France. During dinner the king was more at 
his ease than he had been at the presentation, and 
consequently more affable. The queen was, as be- 
fore, amiable and affectionate. The countess of 
Provence was also present ; she was not handsome, 
but had very beautiful eyes, and her conversation 
was brilliant and gay, without the slightest shade 
of malice ; a combination that is very rare, parti- 
cularly at court. Her younger sister, the countess 
of Artois, was small, gentle, ingenuous, and pos- 
sessed many very admirable qualities. Her com- 
plexion was beautiful, but her nose a little long. 

The grand-duchess shone at this dinner, and dis- 
played an intelligence and tact very uncommon at 
her age. The etiquette observed at pviblic recep- 
tions at court is so fatiguing and wearisome to 
princes that I do not know how they can ever 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 243 

become reconciled to it. After dinner tlie entire 
court assembled in the saloon de la ijaix, where 
there was to be a concert. There were places in 
the gallery for persons who had been presented, 
but had not received invitations from the queen. 
The palace was all brilliantly illuminated, as on 
days of high ceremonial. A thousand chandeliers 
depended from the ceilings, and every bracket sup- 
ported a branch holding forty wax-lights. The 
effect was magical. It would be impossible to give 
an adequate description of the splendour and rich- 
ness of the decorations, of the magnificence of 
the dresses, or of the matchless beauty of the 
queen, who lent a grace and charm to everything 
around her. 

Her majesty was told that I had the honour of 
being the intimate friend of the grand-duchess, 
but that, not being a Russian, I could not be pre- 
sented with her. She immediately sent me an 
invitation to her concert, and whilst we were at 
dinner, a lady of the court called on me to say that 
the queen would dispense with the ceremony of 
my presentation. 

" Madame/' said the queen to the countess du 
Nord, " it would have been a strange oversight in 
me to have separated you from your friend at the 
very moment that I "v^^as seeking to surround you 
with everything that could give you pleasure." 

e2 



244? MEMOIRS OF 

Her majesty received me with excessive good- 
ness and amiability, and said — 

" Madame, I do not know whicL. I ought to 
envy most, you the friendship of the countess du 
Nord, or her the possession of so faithful a friend, 
as I understand you to be." 

Never shall these words be effaced from my re- 
membrance, nor the gentle glance by which they 
were accompanied. 

The queen made me sit behind her and the 
countess du Nord, between madame de Becken- 
dorf and madame de Yergennes, and did me the 
honour of addressing me five or six times during 
the concert. 

" You come from a province, baroness, that I 
thought very beautiful and very loyal when I 
passed through it. I never can forget that I was 
there first greeted by the French ; that it was 
there they first called me their queen." 

She asked me, a little while after, how many 
children I had, and when I replied that I had but 
one daughter, she said — 

" It is a pity that you have not a son ; but I hope 
that you will have one, as I am sure that he would 
serve the king as faithfully as his ancestors have 
done." 

The only persons in the saloon, besides the royal 
family and the Russian princes and their suite. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 245 

were the higli officers of tlie crown. The music 
was delightful. The Sieur Legros, from the Opera, 
and the celebrated Madame Mara, sung admirably. 
This Madame Mara, who is from Saxony, is a very 
beautiful woman, and sings with great feeling and 
energy. Sieur Legros gave this year, of which I 
now speak, several charming concerts in public, in 
which he was assisted by Sieur Lais and Madame 
St. Hubertin and several other first-rate artistes. 
Their great attraction was a stahat, composed by 
several celebrated musicians, and performed by a 
concourse of talent in every department of the art. 
These concerts only took place on occasions of high 
ceremony, or on certain days in Lent, when the 
other theatres were closed. 

I returned to Madame de Mackan's apartment to 
sup, and it was three in the morning when we left 
Versailles. We were all so fatigued that we fell 
asleep in the carriages. The grand-duchess had a 
violent headache from the excessive light and 
noise. However, their imperial highnesses were 
very well pleased with their reception at Ver- 
sailles, of which they wrote a long account next 
day to the czarina. 

It was very late next morning when we rose ; 
when I came down stairs I found before me a 
beautiful present from the count du Nord, a 
basket of delicious fruits and flowers. He had 



246 MEMOIRS OF 

heard me say the evening before that I was very 
fond of them. I dined the same day with the 
princes, and tlianked the grand-duke several times 
for his agreeable present. The grand-duchess was 
greatly amused by my excessive gratitude, which, 
she said, must be the effect of indigestion ; a 
calamity which would most certainly have befallen 
me if I had eaten all the strawberries and cherries 
that had been sent me. 

In the evening I went to the opera with M. and 
Madame Beckendorf. I am very fond of theatrical 
representations, and never lose an oiDportunity of 
gratifying this inclination. The piece was ' The Per- 
secuted Stranger,' a comic opera, which had been 
performed for the first time six months before in 
the Theatre du Menus. It had since, as I am told, 
received many additions and alterations, by Avhich 
it has been very much improved. The words were 
by M. de Rozay, and the music by M. Anfossi, a 
celebrated Italian composer. The theatre was 
crowded, which, with the continued applauses of the 
audience, produced a very fine effect. I never saw 
a more brilliant perforaiance. The theatre (which 
Madame Beckendorf remarked to me was much 
handsomer than that at St. Petersburg) was the 
new one at the Porte St. Martin), which had been 
erected in place of that burnt on the 8th of the 
preceding June. The ancient building was situated 



THE BAROXESS d'OBERKIRCH. 2^7 

near the Palais-Royal, and on the evening of its 
destruction had been crowded to excess ; but, for- 
tunately, audience, actors, all escaped, with the 
exception of one or two of the humbler assistants 
of the stage. It was one of the centre-scenes that 
had first taken fire, and before the ropes could be 
cut by which it was suspended, the whole edifice 
was in flames, and the Palais-Royal and several 
other build ino's were in the oTeatest dansrer of beinor 

~ O O O 

consumed. Blazing splinters were flying in every 
direction, but were fortunately prevented by the 
rain, which fell in torrents, fi^om doino- anv mis- 
chief. In about an hour from the commencement 
of the conflagration, the whole building feU in with 
a terrible crash. 

The provisional theatre was erected near the 
Porte St. Martin, on the site of the old citv magfa- 
zine, from a plan designed by M. Lenoir, an archi- 
tect. It was commenced in July, and finished in 
October. It was guaranteed to stand for six 
years.* It was opened with the representation of 
' Adele del Ponthieu' (by Piccini), to which the pub- 
lic were admitted free in honour of the birth of the 
dauphin. There are four operas during the week. 
on Sundays, Tuesdays. Thursdays, and Fridays. 
The opera balls commence at midnight and close 
at seven in the morning. 

* It is standing still. 



248 MEMOIRS OF 

Whilst we were at dinner the following verses 
were presented to the count du Nord : — 

'From the deep heart of France the strain has gone forth, 
Hail, honour, all hail to the star of the North ! 
Which smiles in this month over our happy land, 

And beaming thus softly and brightly it yields 

A power that we feel fertilizes our fields : 
And the flowers of our valleys in beauty expand. 

And each blossom that opens from harm it shields. 
And late, as through evening's soft shadows I strayed, 
I heard whilst the light thi'ough the foliage played, 
'Twas the voice of the people, soft pouring forth, 
Hail, honour, all hail to the star of the North ! 

Which smiles in this month over our happy land. 

And thus from the Court to the brink of our stra,nd, 
The poor and the great the same strain shall pour forth, 
Hail, honour, all hail to the star of the North ! 

Which smiles in this month over our happy land. 

Will my readers think me fastidious when I say 
that I do not think these verses a whit better than 
those I have transcribed before ? I would not have 
copied these rhapsodies at all, but that they are 
in general circulation, and may serve as a specimen 
of the present style of poetry. Great poets rarely 
grace this terrestrial scene. 

20th 3Iay. — I dined at home this day, although 
the grand-duchess had done me the honour of say- 
ing that covers were laid every-day on her table 
for M. d'Oberkirch and me. I had gone to her 
hotel in the morning to pay my respects, and as 
we were sitting near a window we suddenly heard 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 249 

loud shrieks in the street. I went towards the 
balcony, and could only see a great crowd collected 
without being able to discern the cause. One of 
the servants was sent to inquire what was the 
matter ; and came back saying, that it was a poor 
woman who had been run over by a cabriolet. 

" Ah !" cried the grand-duchess, " perhaps this 
poor woman has a husband and children \" 

Her eyes filled with tears as she thought of her 
own children, so far away ; and of what her suffer- 
ings would be if she were separated from them for 
ever. 

" Take this,'' said she, presenting her purse to 
the servant, which contained about twenty-five 
louis, > " carry it to the poor woman, and tell her 
that I will send her more to-morrow.'' 

My dear princess's heart was still the same. The 
next day she sent more money, as she had promised, 
and desired the messenger to make particular in- 
quiries about the state of the invalid. It was a 
great pleasure to the count du Nord to encourage 
this benevolent disposition in his wife. 

This night I slept at Versailles, in the ambas- 
sador's hotel. There were to be theatricals next 
day in the theatre of the palace, to which the 
queen was good enough to invite me. The grand- 
duchess was deeply touched by so thoughtful and 
delicate a manner of complimenting her. The 



250 MEMOIRS OF 

theatre of the palace is magnificent, both from its 
size and the splendour of its decorations, This 
court life was very wearisome to me ; it was so 
fatiguing ; so painful to be so far from home, from 
my father and daughter, and my usual mode of life 
interrupted. I often suffered a great deal without 
a murmur ; for no person would pity me, every- 
body envying my position. It was very late when 
I went to sleep ; first, I was kept awake by the 
noises in the hotel ; and then I began to fancy that 
Mary was ill, and that it was concealed from me : 
M. d'Oberkirch had to make a thousand protesta- 
tions, before I was satisfied that this was not the 
case, so easily is a mother's heart disturbed : but it 
is a fact that Mary was sick this very night, and 
even at the very hour that I was so unhappy about 
her ; I acknowledge that I believe in presentiments. 
2Srd May. — This morning I set out early to visit 
Le Petit Trianon. What a delicious walk, through 
groves perfumed with lilac, and filled with the 
charming songs of a thousand nightingales ! The 
weather was magnificent, the air loaded with the 
balmy odours of spring flowers ; whilst myriads of 
butterflies disported their gaudy wings, gilded by 
the rays of the sun. I could easily understand 
how delightful this charming retreat must be to the 
queen, who spends the greater part of every sum- 
mer there. 



THE barojn^ess d'oberkirch. 251 

The Petit is exactly opposite to the Great Tria - 
non. It formerly belonged to Madame Dubarry, 
and was built and furnished by the orders of Louis 
XV. with the greatest taste and magnificence. Al- 
though the chateau is not large, it is very well 
arranged, and can accommodate a great number of 
persons. The grounds possess every imaginable de- 
coration — ruins, winding paths, grottoes, sheets of 
water, cascades, mountains, temples, statues ; in 
short everything that could diversify or beautify 
the prospect. One part of the gardens is laid out 
(according to the queen's wish) a VAnglaise, and is 
very much admired. The French part is in the 
same style as Le Notre and the quincunx at Ver- 
sailles. There is also a small theatre, where the 
queen is very fond of taking part in a comedy with 
the count of Artois and some intimate friends. 

At our return from Trianon, we dined at our 
hotel with Madame Bombelles, and then dressed 
for the play. The queen had the extreme polite- 
ness to place at my disposal the small grated box 
belonging to the king, and which was immediately 
behind her own. She did me the honour of 
addressing me several times, and always, with the 
most flattering amiability. 

The opera was ' Aline, or the Queen of Gol- 
conda,' the plot taken from a novel by the che- 
valier Bonfleur, who, it is said, had some such 



252 MEMOIRS OF 

adventures himself. The words are by Sieur 
Sedani, the music by M. de Monsigny ; an (J it was 
arranged by M. de Laval, ballet-master to the 
king. The music was excellent, and very well 
performed ; but I was particularly delighted with 
the dancers. To what a degree of perfection this 
voluptuous art has been carried ! M. Gardel, aine, 
danced in the first act, M. Vestris in the second, 
and M. Nourri in the third. The scenery was 
enchanting, and so skilfully arranged that nature 
herself could not appear fresher or more lovely. 
Who would not be Aline, and reign over this 
delicious country ! 

M. de Monsigny is maitre-d' hotel in ordinar}'^ 
to the duke of Orleans ; he is highly esteemed, 
and everybody speaks of him in the highest 
terms. 

I was invited to sup after the opera with the 
Princess de Chinay, lady of honour to the queen. 
This lady had a pet monkey, the smallest I think 
that I have ever seen, who, whilst his mistress was 
at the theatre, contrived to break his chain, and 
escape unperceived into a cabinet near the dressing- 
room of the princess. Here he found a little dog, 
not larger than himself, with whom he established 
a very amicable acquaintance. He behaved very 
discreetly for some time, committing no greater 
depredations than pouring water into his com- 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 253 

panion's porringer and on the carpet. Perhaps 
the sense of freedom was in itself sufficient amuse- 
ment for some time. After a little while he 
became more courageous, and ventured into the 
next room, and thence into the dressing-room, with 
which he was very well acquainted, being brought 
there every day. The crimson toilet-table had 
long been the object of his ambition, and you may 
suppose that he profited by the opportunity of 
making a nearer acquaintance with it. He over- 
turned boxes, powder-puffs, hair-pins, combs and 
brushes ; he spilled all the perfumes, taking care, 
however, to sprinkle himself well with them ; he 
then rolled himself in the powder, and to complete 
his toilet he put on rouge and patches, as he had 
often seen his mistress do, with this difference that 
he put the rouge on his nose, and the patches on 
his forehead. That was not all ; he made a head- 
dress of a ruffle, and thus, completely dressed, 
walked into the room where we were all quietly at 
supper, little expecting such a visitor. He jumped 
on the table, and ran towards the princess ; the 
ladies all fled shrieking, thinking it was the devil 
in person ; and it was with difficulty that his 
mistress herself recognised him. She soon dis- 
covered that it was indeed her dear Almanzor, and 
reassured her company as she pointed him out 
sitting beside her, apparently enchanted with him- 



254 MEMOIRS OF 

self. The terror of the ladies was changed into 
laughter ; and they all began petting him, and 
giving him gingerbread and filberts. I could 
not share in the general amusement. I think 
monkeys very amusing at a distance, but not in a 
drawing-room, where they make so much mischief- 
However, I thought the little monkey of the 
princess very comic in his fantastic toilet. 

Whilst I was at Versailles, the countess du Nord 
was waited on by the flower-girls of the Pont-Neuf, 
who presented her with a basket of the most beau- 
tiful flowers in the world. The princess showed 
her gratitude with truly imperial generosity. She 
was passionately fond of flowers, and would, I am 
certain, if she could, have kept this basket all night 
in her room. She sent some of the most beautiful 
to my house, with directions that they should be 
preserved until my return. 

The countess du Nord visited some time after 
the new prison in the Rue des Ballots, at the old 
Hotel de la Force. She felt great pity for the poor 
prisoners, and she, together with her husband, 
shared amongst the prisoners for debt ten thou- 
sand livres.. God, the sick, and the unfortunate 
were her first care. Her first visit every day was 
to Notre Dame, then to the Hotel Dieu, where 
she distributed money in abundance. Immense 
sums were spent during this journey, but the 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 255 

greater part in acts of charity, or incitements to 
industry. Tlie princess lavished little money 
except upon the poor. 

24^/i May. — I was still at Versailles. I dined 
with Madame Mackan, who was always so amiable. 
We talked a long time together, and then M. 
Mackan conducted M. d'Oberkirch and me to see 
the royal menagerie. I remarked to him that 
there were few strange animals, to which he re- 
plied — 

" Have we not plenty of courtiers, and what 
more would you want 1" v 

The Chevalier St. Louis, governor of the mena- 
gerie at Versailles, a man of very singular tastes, 
bought a great number of turkeys as an addition 
to his collection of curious animals. The king 
passing one day, accompanied, as was usual, by 
twelve cent Suisse (twelve soldiers of his body 
guard) and their captain, saw these birds, and said 
to the governor that he thought them very disagree- 
able. The governor took no notice. When next 
the king passed he was displeased to find the turkeys 
there still, and said to the chevalier, " Monsieur, if 
fou do not dismiss this troop from your regiment, 
I pledge my royal word that I will deprive you of 
your commission.''' 

Madame Mackan had the goodness to take me 
to the apartments of the royal children. The prin- 



256 MEMOIRS OF 

cess royal is a miracle of beauty, intelligence, and 
precocious dignity, and very like her august mother. 
She looked at me very attentively, and asked my 
name ; when she was told, she said — 

" You are German, madame ?" 

" No, madame, I am French, and Alsatian." 

" I am glad of that, for I could not love fo- 
reigners." 

How charming this was in so young a child ! 
The dauphin was a beautiful infant. What a pity 
that so lovely a bud should fall from the royal 
stem. After leaving the royal apartments, I went 
with Madame de Bombelles to visit the wives 
of the different ministers of the crown. These 
were — 

The count of Vergennes, minister of foreign affairs. 

The marquis of Se'gur, minister of war. 

M. d'Amelot, minister of the king's household. 

The marquis of Castries, naval minister. 

Toly de Fleury, minister of finances. 

M. de Maupeon, chancellor. 

M, de Miromesnil, keeper of the seals. 

The count of Breteuil, minister of Paris. 

The marquis of Segur, who was then lieutenant- 
general, and afterwards marshal of France, had 
both his arms shot off at the battle of Minden. 

It was that thoughtless minister, M. de Maurepas, 
who, from friendship for the elder M. Amelot, ap- 
pointed the younger minister of the royal house- 



THE BARONESS DOBERKIRCH. 257 

bold. " No person/' said he, '' can accuse me of 
having chosen this man on account of his talent." 

The daughter of M. Amelot, secretary of state, 
was married to the count of Fertd Seneterre. 

These visits were not very amusing ; court cere- 
monies have always been disagreeable to me, but it 
was necessary that I should accustom myself to them. 
As a recreation, Madame Bombelles took me to 
visit the apartments and cabinets of the king, which 
I had not yet seen. They were not so handsome 
or as much ornamented as those of the queen. 
The simplicity of Louis XYI.'s taste is seen in 
everything about him. We ascended by a private 
staircase to a small room at the very top of the 
palace, where the king works as a locksmith, an 
occupation in which he takes great pleasure. As I 
entered this apartment, filled with tools, I was 
greatly impressed by these evidences of the simple 
tastes of so great a monarch. 

We returned to sup with the duchess of Yille- 
quier. The duke of Villequier (formerly marquis) 
is second son of the duke d'Aumont. His elder 
brother, married to Mademoiselle Dufort-Duras, 
bore the title of duke of Mazarin until the death 
of his father, when he inherited that of Aumont. 
I have before related how their daughter was mar- 
ried to the prince of Monaco, by which union were 
united the possessions of Mazarin and Valentinois. 

VOL. I. S 



258 MEMOIRS OF 

The sister of the dukes of Aumont and Yille- 
quier was married to the duke of Villeroi, her 
cousin-german, and is certainly one of the most 
remarkable ladies at court. She is a woman of 
superior intellect, and of unerring judgment both 
in men and things. Her imagination is brilliant, 
and her memory prodigious. She possesses great 
talent for discussion, for which her powers of obser- 
vation furnish her with many piquant facts. She 
is rather vindictive, and her conversation at times 
extremely sarcastic. She has, however, a very good 
disposition, and is sensitive even to susceptibility. 
She well deserved the sobriquet of bonne me- 
chante, which was given to her at court. She loves 
or hates mth great ardour. 

In her youth she was passionately fond of 
music, literature, and the fine arts, but afterwards 
turned her attention entirely to politics, on which 
she will argue with gentlemen with most surprising 
clearness and judgment. She is strongly opposed 
to the present democratic tendency of public 
opinion. 

On the evening of which I write she supped 
with us at her sister-in-law's, and expressed great 
pity for us because of our playing the game of loto- 
dauphin. She made many very amusing remarks 
upon this game (which was very fashionable, but 
certainly did not require much exertion of the 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 259 

mind), whilst she conversed in a corner with a 
gentleman, a kind of savant, whose name I cannot 
at this moment remember. This gentleman had 
apartments in the hotel d'Aumont at Paris, which 
was a great advantage for him in his studies. He 
was poor and timid, and the duchess would not 
allow any person to treat him unkindly. How 
often was her heart planning projects of benevo- 
lence at the very moment that her sarcastic conver- 
sation was inflicting deep wounds around her ! Un- 
fortunately, one word may do more harm than 
could be compensated by a thousand acts of good- 
ness. 

26th May. — I returned from Versailles to Paris, 
and immediately after my arrival hastened to visit 
the countess du Nord. She made me stay to 
dinner, and we related to each other all that we 
had seen or heard during our separation. She 
travelled with great profit, making notes of every 
interesting or remarkable event, and seeking every 
opportunity of obtaining information. It was she 
who first suggested to me the idea of this journal, 
and consequently of these memoirs. 

" How delightful," said she, "it will be, as we 
grow old, to review the scenes and feelings of our 
youth ; and, besides, would you not wish to leave 
some trace of your existence after you had crossed 
the stormy sea of life? Our children will read 

s2 



260 MEMOIRS OF 

the pages on whicli we inscribe our sentiments and 
our ideas ; they will learn from them how warmly 
we loved them, and cherish our memories with 
deeper and more lasting affection." 

M. de la Harpe dined with us, and after dinner 
he read to us his translation of Lucian, which is 
deservedly very much admned. I did not like 
him much ; I thought him stiff, pedantic, and self- 
satisfied. He poured forth streams of bile, in 
speaking of his brother authors, not one of whom 
he would allow to possess the least genius. The 
grand-duchess was entirely of my opinion. 

When Lucian was finished, I went to visit the 
princess de Bouillon. Her husband is colonel of 
the regiment which my father, uncle, and M. de 
Wim^DfTen have successively commanded ; he has 
the greatest friendship for my father. The princess, 
who is daughter of Constantino landgrave of Hesse- 
Rheinfelt-Rothembourg, and ol the Countess Mary 
of Staremberg, received me mth the greatest kind- 
ness. The duke of Bouillon, father to the prince, 
is still alive, and a widower, having lost his wife, 
who was a princess of Lorraine-Massan. The ancient 
dukes of Bouillon were of the house of Lamarck, 
which failing in the male line, the title was per- 
petuated in the family of Latour of Auvergne, by 
the marriage of the heness, Charlotte de Lamarck, 
with the Marshal Turenne, in 1591. The princess of 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 261 

Bouillon asked me to remain to supper, but having 
promised the grand-duchess to sup with her, I was 
^ bliged to refuse, though very anxious to see her 
father and mother-in-law. They were both remark- 
able persons, one being grandson of the great 
Sobieski, and brother of the princess of Rohan- 
Montbazon, and the other celebrated by her own 
adventures. She had been in love with Marshal 
Saxe, and public report accused her of having 
poisoned Mdlle. Lecouvreur, whom she suspected 
of supplanting her in his affections. To what a 
degree must she not have forgotten herself, before 
anybody would have taken the liberty of accusing 
a woman of her rank of so base a crime ! What a 
lesson it ought to be for others ! 

Before my return to the grand- duchess, I paid 
several visits, one to the countess of Halwill. The 
count of Halwill was marshal-de-camp, and had 
been for a long time colonel of the regiment of 
Halwill-Suisse, which was disbanded. The Hal- 
wills are a very ancient family. The name of Hal- 
will is mentioned in the record of a carousal at 
Augsburg in 1080, and a Philip Halwill appeared 
in a tournament at Zurich in 1165. 

My next visit was to the viscountess of Equevilly, 
Qiee Dieck, a very young and very agreeable w^oman, 
who was only a short time married, and had been 
presented about a week before. The viscount of 



262 MEMOIRS OF 

Equevilly is second colonel of the dragoon regiment 
of Deux-Ponts. His father the marquis of Eque- 
villy was lieutenant-general and captain of the 
Vautrait, as the office of captain in charge of the 
tents and royal pavilion at the boar-hunt was 
vulgarly called. 

I paid many other visits, several of which were 
en hlanc, that is to say, that I left my card. The 
customs in this country have been always extremely 
fantastic, but we must go with the stream, or be 
called ignorant country ladies, as Madame de 
Villeroi angrily called the provincial ladies who 
visited her at her chateau. The countess du Nord, 
whose judgment was very correct, often laughed 
with me at these little great things, but, however, 
had the good sense to conform to them. Monarchs 
themselves must yield to fashion. 



THE BARONESS d'0J3ERKIRCH. 263 



CHAPTER XI. 

The countess du Nord at Notre-Dame — St. Peter's and 
Notre-Dame — Gift from the queen — Iphigenie en Tauride 
— Mdlle, Laguerre intoxicated — The duke of Bouillon, 
her lover — Couplets — Order of Felicite — Origin of 
Gluckists and Piccinists — Dancing — M. de Beaumarchais 
at the countess du Nord's — Jealousy of La Harpe — 
Pleading of the 'Marriage of Figaro '—Seance at the 
Academy — M, d'Arnoud — Canes k la Barmecide — The 
countess du Nord at the Theatre Frangais— Verses — 
The new theatre — The actors — The pretended decay of 
art — Le Petit Dunquerque — Varietes amusantes. 

1782. 2Qth May. — Madame Beckendorf took 
me to visit the dome of the Invalides, which in- 
terested me very much. She was enceinte and 
very delicate, which, however, did not prevent her 
from going everywhere, and keeping herself in a 
perpetual state of motion. We returned together 
to dine with the countess du Nord. We were very 
gay during dinner, and talked a great deal ; the 
princess entertained us with an account of the visit 
-she made to Notre-Dame during my residence at 
Versailles. She particularly admired the pictures 
with which the church is ornamented, of which she 



264 MEMOIRS OF 

spoke with great judgment and taste, for she is 
herself very well versed in the art, and draws per- 
fectly well. Their imperial highnesses had expected 
to make their visit to this edifice quite incognito ; 
but, spite of their precautions, their intention was 
discovered, and they were received by the canons 
with due honour. The princess conversed there 
for some time with the Abbe de Lafaye, who has 
many relations in Alsace. As we were on the sub- 
ject of churches, the grand-duchess gave us a de- 
tailed description of St. Peter's and of Rome, the 
capital of the Catholic world. I was very much 
struck by the parallel she drew between St, Peter's 
and Notre-Dame ; two buildings which cannot bear 
a comparison, except in the point of view in which 
she considered them. 

" At St. Peter's,'' said she, "one feels oveipowered 
by the beauty, extent, and majesty of the edifice, 
and hardly dares to address the Supreme Being, in 
whose honour this gorgeous temple has been raised, 
so deep is the imjjression of one's own insignificance, 
and of the immense distance between the creature 
and the Creator ; but at Notre-Dame, built when 
religion had so much influence over the minds of 
men, there is a mysterious something which leads 
the soul to confidence and prayer One feels a 
certainty of being heard and pitied, one yields un- 
hesitatingly to the divine influence of love and hope. 



THE BAEONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 265 

These, at least/' continued the princess, " were my 
sensations in the two churches ; but, perhaps, you 
will be surprised when I say that I prefer our 
Greek churches to either/' 

Happily for the grand-duchess, she had entirely 
conquered her regret for the worship of her child- 
hood. 

After dinner she showed us a magnificent fan, 
ornamented with diamonds, which the queen had 
presented her the day of the dramatic representa- 
tion at Versailles. There was an eye-glass in the 
handle, which served her majesty with an excuse 
for presenting it, which she did with that grace and 
tact peculiar to herself. 

" I know,'' said she, " that, like me, you are a 
little shortsighted, an inconvenience which I beg 
you will allow me to remedy ; and may I hope that 
you will keep this simple ornament in remem- 
brance of me ?" 

" I will keep it whilst I live," replied the prin- 
cess ; " and never will I forget that to it I owe the 
happiness of being better able to see your ma- 
jesty." 

After dinner I went with General Wurmser to 
hear Piccini's opera of ' Iphigenie en Tauride,' and 
' Le Devin du Village,' of which both the words 
and music are by the celebrated Jean Jacques 
Rousseau. This ' Iphigenia ' of Piccini's is the 



266 MEMOIRS OF 

same subject, and almost the very same words as 
tliat of ' Guimand de la Touclie/ set to music by 
M. Gluck in 1779, and of which the success was 
immense, the interest of the piece being very well 
sustained throughout, and the music in the most 
perfect harmony with the subject. Mdlle. Levasseur 
played Iphigenia ; Larriv^e, Orestes ; Legros, 
Pylades ; and Moreau, Thoas. It was two years 
after that Piccini produced his opera on the same 
theme, to the great indignation of the GlucJcists. 

At the second representation of Piccini's opera? 
Mdlle. Laguerre appeared on the stage quite intoxi- 
cated ; the audience were indignant, they hissed, 
stamped, hooted, and loudly demanded that she 
should be sent to Fort TEvesque, which was done 
at last, to the great annoyance of her lover, the 
duke of Bouillon, who has ruined himself for her. 
He carried his passion for her to the most ridiculous 
excess, and it was (as everything is in France), 
made the subject of a popular song. I will transcribe 
these verses, which are the best I have yet presented 
to my readers : — 

Bouillon est preux et vaillaut, 

II aime la guerre ; 
A tout autre amusement 

Son coeur la prefere ; 
Ma foi, vive un chambellan 
Qui toujours s'en va disant : 
Moi j'aime la guerre, 6 gue ! 
Moi j'aime la guerre. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 267 

Au sortir de I'opera 

Voler a la guerre, 
De Bouillon qui le croira 

C'est le caractere ; 
Elle a pour lui cles ajDpas 
Que pour d'autres elle n'a pas, 
Enfin c'est la guerre, 6 gue ! 
Enfin c'est la guerre. 

A Durfort il faut du TM 

C'est sa fantaisie, 
Soubise moins degoute 

Aime la Prairie. 
Mais Bouillon, qui pour son roi, 
Mettrait tout en desarroi, 
Aime mieux la guerre, 6 gue ! 
Aime mieux la guerre.^ 

This poor duke de Bouillon was a most singular 
man, and used to do the most extraordinary things : 
lie instituted an order for the younger ladies of the 
court, which he called the order De la felicite, and 
for which he had numerous aspirants. His friend 
the marquis of Chambonas, so celebrated for his 
wit and prodigality, was lieutenant maitre of the 
order, and its statutes were composed of maxims 
of gallantry to which all were obliged to conform. 
Its members wore on the left side a small cross sus- 
pended from a green ribbon. Green being the 
emblem of hope. The duke asked me to become 
a member, but I refused ; I could not admire all 

* These verses being entirely a play upon words, it would 
be impossible to retain their double signification in a 
translation. — Note hy the Editor. 



268 MEMOIES OF 

this chivalry, nor did I need the order of Felicite 
to insure my happiness. 

But it is time that we should return to the 
opera of l23higenia (I am speaking now of Piccini's), 
and although a Gluckist, I must acknowledge that 
it possesses a great deal of merit. Why compare 
two men so absolutely different ? And why elevate 
one at the expense of the other ? This war origi- 
nated in 1778, from an expression of the Abb^ 
Arnaud, who said that Gluck had composed an 
Orlando, and Piccini an Orlandino. Marmontel, 
who had written the words of Piccini's opera, was 
absolutely furious ; he stormed, he raved, and 
sounded the trumpet of war in every direction. 
All flew to arms, ladies as well as gentlemen ; the 
whole order of things was disturbed, lovers quar- 
relled, friends fell out, husbands and wives were dis- 
united, because, forsooth, their musical tastes could 
not agree. I myself knew a very pretty woman, 
(whose name I will not mention,) who considered 
she gave sufficient excuse for her want of affection 
for her husband when she said, — 

" How could any one be faithful to such a man ? 
He is a Picciniste, and stuns my ears from morning 
until night/' 

" And you repay him from night until morning," 
replied some person. 

After ' Iphigenia ' we had the ' Devin du Village,' 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 269 

a very pretty pastoral. The part of Collette was 
performed by a debutante, Mdlle. Maillot, who 
was very well received ; she sang better than her 
predecessor, Mdlle. Audinot, but her acting was 
not good. The Sieur Duquesney was very good 
in the character of Colin. 

The principal dancers were Mdlle. Guimard — a 
very handsome and graceful person, and who has 
been very much admired- — ^and Vestris's son and 
nephew. The son is called Vestris Allard, being 
the combined names of his father and mother ; and 
though he has had great success, it is said that he 
will never equal the dieu de la danse. 

At our return from the opera, a great pleasure 
awaited us at the palace of the countess du Nord, 
and which we enjoyed in defiance of M. de la Harpe, 
whom it gave me great pleasure to see annoyed. 
M. de Beaumarchais was to read to their imperial 
highnesses his ' Marriage of Figaro,' which had not 
yet appeared on the stage, as he had been refused 
permission to have it performed. M. de la Harpe 
came every day to the count du ISTord's, under 
pretext of being his correspondent, and the prince 
(as well as we) was become thoroughly weary of 
him. His excessive and ridiculous self-love was 
unbearable : no amount of compliments could 
satisfy him ; he was become a burden to us all. 
The count du Nord hesitated as to whether he 



270 MEI^IOIRS OF 

sliould allow tlie reading of M, de Beaumarcliais' 
performance, fearing that it would excite the 
jealousy of M. de la Harpe, and said, laughing, — 

" I would not wish to fall out with the hiofher 
powers. '^ 

But the countess du Nord insisted, and he was 
obliged to consent. 

How great a difference there was between M, de 
Beaumarchais and M. de la Harpe ! I admired 
the former very much ; he had a handsome, open, 
intellectual countenance, with perhaps an expression 
a little too bold. I was told that he by no means 
deserved my good opinion — that he was a most 
worthless man ; which certainly may have been the 
case, but most undoubtedly he had a very exten- 
sive mind, a most daring courage, and a strength 
of purpose that no obstacle could overcome : it 
will be admitted that these were great qualities. 
Son of a clockmaker, his merit raised him to rank 
with princes ; he triumphed over the envy or ill- 
will of all his competitors, and by his talent has 
amassed an immense fortune. He was in every 
way a remarkable man. It is said that he loved 
his daughter with the greatest affection ; and I do 
not believe it possible that a good father could be 
a bad man. 

However that may be, we were very much 
pleased with his ' Marriage of Figaro.' It was 



THE BAEONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 271 

not SO much admired as the ' Barber of Seville/ 
why I do not know ; perhaps that it outraged 
some dramatic law ; but I would most decidedly 
prefer it. I thought it more amusing, the dialogue 
more lively, and the style altogether more brilliant. 
His enemies asserted that he described himself in 
the character of Figaro ; which may be, but there 
are many other things to be admired in it. I will 
give the fruit of my reflections on this piece when 
I come to speak of its representation, at which I 
was afterwards present. 

May 27. — The countess du Nord was good enough 
to ask me to spend the morning with her in exa- 
mining the merchandizes of different shopkeepers, 
who were to bring their greatest rarities for her 
inspection. She bought some superb ornaments 
of enamel set in marcasites, which were a real 
curiosity, and cost as much as if they were of 
precious stones. Afterwards I had the honour of 
accompanying their imperial highnesses to the 
Academy, where a special meeting was held in their 
honour. This assembly had a very imposing air. 
M. de la Harpe read some verses in praise of the 
count du Nord, which I thought deficient both in 
taste and tact. In the first place, his poem was too 
long, and in the next place it contained a lengthened 
criticism on the German poets, which certainly was 
not the most agreeable subject to have read before 



272 MKVIOIRS OF 

the grand -duchess, a German princess. She re- 
marked this to me herself. The countess du Nord 
is very well acquainted mth the poetry of her 
country ; and it is very possible that M. de la Harpe 
had never read one German poet in the original, 
without which it would be impossible to judge 
impartially. Further on in his composition he 
compares the gTand duke to Peter the Great ; but 
the prince, whose judgment is very correct, rejected 
the ill-judged flattery, saying, — 

" It is my greatest ambition to resemble him 
one day, and to continue the great work that he 
has commenced ; but at present I do not deserve 
to have my inglorious name inscribed beside his/' 

One thing that M. de la Harpe said in praise of 
the prince was indeed true ; it was, that " To 
envious courtiers he would be an excellent master 
in the art of pleasing.'' 

An address was then read by Count Schouwalow, 
which wearied everybody. M. Darmond spoke very 
long and very well on ' Julius Caesar :' this is the 
opinion that I heard, for I do not consider myself 
competent to form a judgment on such a composi- 
tion. At the conclusion of the meeting, M. Dalem- 
bert distributed medals amongst the persons com- 
posing the suite of their imperial highnesses. Never 
did I see a more ignoble-looking philosopher ; and 
he paid us compliments in a tone that would have 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 273 

better suited an insult. At first I did not know 
in what sense I was to understand what he said. 

The countess du Nord astonished the acade- 
micians by her extensive information, and flattered 
them not a little by quoting passages from some of 
their most celebrated works. The illustrious tra- 
vellers promised their portraits to these gentlemen, 
and they are to be placed beside that of the cele- 
brated Christina, queen of Sweden. 

We returned to dinner, and our conversation was 
entirely of the immortal members of the Academy, 
and especially of M. de la Harpe. Poor M. de la 
Harpe 1 — epigrams showered on him like hail from 
all parts of Paris. I remember a very amusing 
anecdote that I heard of him : he was one day 
driving in the Bois de Boulogne, in a carriage with 
two ladies, one of whom, as well as I remember, 
was the duchess de Grammont. They were over- 
whelming him with the adulation and compliments 
which his self-love required from everybody, but 
which, to do him justice, he always returned with 
interest, naturally supposing that what was so 
agreeable to him must needs be so to all the world, 
when a man passed near the carriage, crying, 
" Who will buy my walking-sticks a la Barmecide f 
" Walking-sticks a la Barmecide,'' said one of the 
ladies ; " that ought to interest you, M, de la Harpe ; 

VOL. I. T 



274 MEMOIRS OF 

allow me to present you with one of these canes in 
remembrance of your great success/^ 

M. de la Harpe considered that the representa- 
tion of his tragedy of the ' Barmecide' had been 
very successful. The man was called, and he 
approached the carriage, presenting three or four 
sticks, with very ugly ivory balls on the tops. 

" Why do you call them a la Barmecide V said 
the lady. 

" You shall see, madame," said the man, with a 
very knowing air. 

He took off the ivory ball and showed to the 
lady a large cat-call, hidden under it. The two 
ladies had the cruelty to burst into laughter, and 
poor LaHarpe was overcome by shame and wounded 
self-love ; " he could," said M. de Beaumarchais, 
" have shed tears of bile.'' 

After dinner their imperial highnesses went to 
the Theatre Frangais, where they had hired a box 
for the time they were to remain in Paris. This 
was their third visit ; they preferred it to every 
other public amusement, which undoubtedly is a 
proof of an enlightened taste. The performance 
was ' Mercure Galant,' and the ' Chasse de Henri 
Quatre.' The count du Nord was so j^leased with 
the latter piece, that he wished to have it repeated, 
which gave occasion to the following verses : 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 275 

When the proud hearts of Frenchmen their Henry recall, 

They some trace of his glory would bring back for thee ; 
And, art rising triumphant, his virtues, and all 

That he once was in life, thou here pictured mayst see. 
And the virtues here recorded 
In thy breast a mirror find. 
Prince, thou weepest ; and applauded 
Is each tear by souls refined. 
And as he to his people a father hast been. 

So shalt thou unto thine when the sceptre thou'lt own ; 
But more perfect the likeness between you is seen. 

When we gaze on the bride thou wilt place on the throne. 
In her deep and tender feeling 

Thou love's balmy power shalt know ; 
And thy mighty mother's teaching 
To reign and conquer well can show. 
As thy tears for our Henry fast flowing we see. 
It proclaims that his equal one day thou shalt be. 

Their imperial highnesses were loudly cheered 
during the evening, to which testimony of public 
admiration they replied by the most gracious salu- 
tations. 

The theatre was quite new, and built near the 
Luxembourg, on the site of the old Hotel de Conde, 
which had been purchased from the civic autho- 
rities by the king, and given by him to his brother 
on condition that he should build a theatre there. 
Although the erection cost two millions, the public 
were very much dissatisfied with the accommoda- 
tion : the boxes were small, and there were many 
parts of the building from which the stage could not 

be seen at all. Another objection was the dazzling 

t2 



276 MEMOIRS OF 

whiteness of the painting, which the ladies declared 
quite eclipsed the most distinguished toilette. 
The architecture was very heavy ; but here for the 
first time we saw the audience in the pit seated. 

Wliatever may be said to the theatre, the actors 
were unexceptionable. What an assemblage of 
talent ! There were Messieurs Preville, Brigard, 
Mole, Dugazon, Desessart, Larive, Pazincourt, 
Henry ; Mademoiselles Belcours, Yestris, Preville, 
Mole, Poligny, La Chassargue, Baucourt, Suin, 
Sainval, Contates, &c. To praise these would be, 
indeed, superfluous. 

Still we hear that the drama is declining. In 
my opinion people do not sufficiently consider all 
the study that it requires to make a good actor, and 
the long practice he must have before he will be 
quite au fait at the simulation of the thousand cha- 
racters that he must represent. The greatest genius 
does not appear in noon-day splendour in the 
morning of its career. It is not just to judge the 
debutant by the standard of the perfect artist, who 
is perhaps not more superior to the new actor than 
he is to what he was himself when first he sought 
the public favour. 

Mdlle. Bancourt, who has cast Mdlles. Clairon 
and Dum^nil quite into the shade, was considered 
at her debut much inferior to them. Preville and 
Mole excel their predecessors, and certainly Pazin- 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 277 

court ; Fleury and Mdlle. Contates, who at the time 
of which I write gave only indications of ordinary 
talent, have since far surpassed their masters. 
From which we may safely infer that there is very 
little truth in the assertion that the histrionic art 
is on the decline ; our stage is and will be, I am 
certain, for a long time an honour to our country. 

1782. — The Theatre Fran9ais suffered a great 
loss this year in the retiring of Mdlle. Susy, who 
was an excellent actress in her genre {de soubrette); 
she was very much regretted. 

We returned to sup with the countess du Nord, 
who was delighted with the evening's entertain- 
ment. 

" Ah," said she to the grand-duke, " if we could 
enjoy such a pleasure at St. Petersburg !" 

" What is there to prevent it ?" said he thought- 
fully ; "we must think about it.'' 

28th May. — Madame Beckendorf came for me 
very early ; we were to visit the milliners, gold- 
smiths, &c. Amongst others we visited the ' Petit 
Dunkerque' (the shop of a celebrated jeweller at 
the Pont Neuf), and remained there several hours. 
Nothing could exceed the beauty of this reservoir 
of jewellery ; it was filled with trinkets of every 
kind, of which the original value was multiplied 
ten times by the beauty of the elaborate workman- 
ship. The price of every article was marked ; and 



278 ME5I0IRS OF 

although the ornaments were most elegant and 
varied, and finished in the most exquisite manner, 
the jeweller had the reputation of selling at a very- 
moderate profit. The number of purchasers was 
said to be sometimes so great, that they were often 
obliged to bring a guard. 

We each bought a trinket that was then very 
fashionable ; it was a kind of little mill that was 
worn fastened with the watch. The grand-duchess 
took several of them to Russia. 

After dining with the Beckendorfs, I went with 
Madame SkawTonski to the Varietes Amusantes, 
where we were very much amused by ' Jerome 
Pointu.'' We afterwards visited the ware-rooms 
of the cabinet-makers, where we saw some of the 
most beautiful furniture in the world. It was nine 
o'clock when I got home. 



! 



THE BAEONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 279 



CHAPTER XII. 

Visit to the countess de Vergeimes — Adventure of Mdlle. 
*** — Indiscreet remark of the countess de Pohgnac — 
Brevet de dame — Court theatricals —Mdlle. Heinel, an 
opera dancer, retires to a convent — Verses — The rhymers 
of France — The princess de Chinay — Countess de Henin 
Lielaud — The countess du Nord at Notre-Dame — 
Ordinance of the king concerning Protestant children — 
The countess de Bruce — Jealousy of Catherine II. — 
Disgrace — Les Invalides — M. Thelusson — The Palais 
Royal — The cat of the house — A small house — Wit of 
Mdlle. Dervieux — An anecdote — Supper at Madame de 
Thavanet's— Reply to the king by M. De G'**— The 
count du Nord at Bagatelle — Verses — The duchess de 
Lauzun — Insolent admiration of the duke de Lauzun 
for the queen — The princess de Henin and Mdlle. 
Arnould— Society of the princess de Bouillon — The 
globes of Father Coronelli— The grand-duke at the tomb 
of Richelieu — The opera of Theseus — The queen and 
the countess du Nord at the ' Bal d'opera ' — Adventure 
of the duke de Chartres at the ball — Reflections of the 
count du Nord. 

29th 3fay. — I WAS obliged to go alone to Ver- 
sailles, very mucli against my inclination, as I left 
M. d'Oberkirch ill ; but I could not stay away, as 
the queen had the goodness to invite me the day. 
before, and the countess du Nord would be greatly 
disappointed by my absence. I dined with Madame 
de Mackan, who entertained a very large company 



280 MEMOIRS OF 

that day, and after dinner I paid several visits to 
various persons of the court. The first was to the 
countess of Vergennes, wife of the minister of 
foreign affairs. Her two brothers-in-law were, one 
a marquis and ambassador in Switzerland, the 
other a viscount, married to Mdlle. de Lentilhac, 
was lieutenant-colonel of the Gardes de la Porte. 
The conversation at Madame de Vergennes was 
entirely about an extraordinary adventure which 
had just happened, but was not publicly known. 
In relating this rather painful tale I will not men- 
tion names ; but if these memoirs should fall into 
the hands of any person who knew the parties 
concerned they will only too easily recognize them. 
A young lady of very high family was brought 
home from the convent where she had been edu- 
cated, and told that her parents had arranged a 
marriage for her with a very distinguished person. 
To the great surprise of her friends the young lady 
not only refused to marry, but absolutely declined 
appearing in any company whatever, even to see 
Madame Elizabeth who had wished to receive her. 
Her family were greatly disturbed : they asked the 
nuns, and her most intimate friends amongst the 
boarders at the convent, if they knew anything 
that could be the cause of this extraordinary con- 
duct, but in vain — the mystery was impenetrable. 
Her mother offered her everything that she could 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 281 

possibly be supposed to wish for, if she would 
accompany her to a concert at tbe residence of the 
king's sisters. She refused : she was surrounded by 
spies ; but nothing could be discovered that would 
explain her conduct : they began to fear that she 
was a victim to monomania. This continued for 
three months, when one day she most unexpectedly 
said, that if she would be permitted that she would 
on the following Sunday go to the mass du roi. 
Her family were delighted with even this conces- 
sion ; and milliners and dressmakers were imme- 
diately employed in preparing a suitable toilet. 
Her appearance at church made a great sensation ; 
but she was quite self-possessed, and looked around 
as if seeking some person. When the congrega- 
tion was leaving, she uttered an exclamation of 
surprise, and turning to her mother said, 

" Madame, could you tell me who is that gentle- 
man dressed in gray ?" 

" That is the marquis of * * *." 

'^ And the lady who is with him ; who is she ?" 

" That is his wife, Mdlle. de * * *, to whom he is 
married about a fortnight/' 

" Married I" cried the poor girl, " He is mar- 
ried I" 

At this exclamation the persons near looked at 
her in amazement, but she took no notice of any- 
body, but rushed to the door, shrieking like a mad- 



282 MEMOIRS OF 

woinan, as in fact she was. The anguish of the 
poor mother may be easily imagined. At their 
return home she questioned her, and at length dis- 
covered the entire truth. It appeared that the 
sister of this marquis * * * was a fellow-pupil of 
the young lady's, and often carried her with her to 
the parlour when her brother came to visit. The 
gentleman was struck by the beauty of his sister's 
friend (whose family he knew to be very rich), and 
did not allow his admiration to remain a secret. 
His sister, of course, entered warmly into his inte- 
rests ; and the imaginations of these two innocent 
girls were excited by the romantic interest always 
attached to a secret love affair, and they had the 
ingenuity to contrive many secret meetings without 
the knowledge of their governesses. Where they 
met, how often, or to what extent the intimacy was 
carried, was never known. One thing, however, is 
certain, that another bride was offered to the mar- 
quis, who, besides a very large fortune, could bestow 
on him a very important office, her uncle being in 
high favour with the monarch. This was a tempta- 
tion too great to be resisted, and the unworthy lover 
sacrificed his affection to ambition. Our heroine 
being about to leave the convent, it would be im- 
possible to conceal his treachery once she appeared 
in society, where she would of course hear imme- 
diately of his intended marriage, and her family 



THE BARONESS D'oBERKIRCH. 283 

being very powerful miglit easily overturn all his 
projects. This was a serious dilemma; but our 
gentleman got out of it in a manner worthy of him- 
self. Calculating on the young lady's romantic 
disposition, and being certain of her affection, he 
fabricated a tale, which easily gained credence from 
her innocent and confiding mind. With a very 
mysterious air he told her that there was the greatest 
danger of their being separated for ever, but that 
it would be impossible for him to explain further 
at present ; and that their only chance of escaping 
so cruel a fate was by her refusing to appear in 
society for some time. The affectionate girl unhe- 
sitatingly agreed to do an3rthing that would avert 
their threatened separation. He made her swear 
on the gospels that she would not go out of her 
father's house, or receive any visits, for three months; 
but he told her that when that time would be 
expired, to go on Sunday to mass. Three months, 
he calculated, would give him sufficient time to 
conclude his marriage and receive his appointment. 
His plan was quite successful, as we have seen. 
The anger of the young lady's parents was bound- 
less ; but what they could do to punish him would 
only injure their child, and they were therefore 
obliged to bear this grievous mortification in silence. 
Their daughter, of a gentle and yielding disposition, 
was shaken both in body and mind by the false- 



284 MEMOIES OF 

hood of her lover. She was earned into Languedoc, 
where her father had a magnificent chateau ; where, 
some time after, she was married to a gentleman 
of the neighbourhood, of good birth but ])oot. Living 
far from court, he was ignorant of the circumstance 
I have just related, and considered the rich Mdlle. 
* * * a very good wife, notwithstanding the weak- 
ness of her intellect. Time has had a most bene- 
ficial effect on this poor creature ; her mind has 
recovered its tone, and she has become warmly 
attached to her husband, and quite forgotten her 
first sad love. I have often met her ; she is uni- 
versally beloved, and is certainly one of the most 
estimable women of the court. The moral of my 
tale is this : that we ought never to despair, but 
trust in that Divine Providence who is ever ready 
to assist the weak. 

After my visits I returned to the countess du 
Nord, whom I found quite annoyed by an obser- 
vation of the Countess Diana de Polignac, lady of 
honour of Madame Elizabeth. The grand-duchess 
had that morning paid a visit to Madame Elizabeth, 
and when she withdrew, the Countess Diana con- 
ducted her through the apartments, a customary 
piece of court etiquette. The countess du Nord 
spoke mth great admiration of the beauty and 
amiability of the princess. " Yes,'' said the Countess 
Diana, " she is handsome, but she is too fat.'' 



THE BARONESS D OBERKIRCH. 285 

There was very little tact in this reply, for if 
criticism could find anything to blame in the appear- 
ance of the grand-duchess it was an inclination to 
embonpoint. It may therefore be easily supposed 
that this remark was not very agreeable. She 
replied rather dryly, "I cannot see any fault in 
Madame Elizabeth's figure. I do not think that 
any person could look better. '' 

This countess de Polignac was neither married 
nor a canoness, although she wore the cross of the 
chapter of Lorraine. She appeared at court in 
virtue of a ' Brevet de dame/ granted to her by 
the king. She was not handsome, or well made, 
and was rather negligent in her dress ; but her wit 
and sensitive disposition made her a universal 
favourite. The least thing would disturb her, and 
make her blush like a girl just returned from 
school. She had, however, more strength of mind 
than was generally supposed, and loved and sus- 
tained her family with an energy beyond all 
praise. By her fascinating powers of conversation 
she gained many friends for the house of Polignac, 
whilst the fear of her piquant wit restrained many 
who would willingly have injured it. 

When I left the grand-duchess, I went to the 
theatre of the court, to which the queen had the 
goodness to invite me, and also to reserve for me 
the same box as before, and which was immediately 



286 MEMOIRS OF 

behind that in which she herself sat with the 
countess du Nord. She addressed me several 
times, and in the most gi^acious and amiable man- 
ner invited me to sup with her on the following 
Thursday, when there was to be a great fete in 
honour of the OTand-duchess in the orardens of 
Trianon. 

The performance was ' Iphigenie en Aulide/ a 
tragic opera in three acts. The verses were "WTitten 
by M. du Bollet, and the music by the Chevaher 
Gluck. We had, after a ballet by Gardel, ballet- 
master to the king, the admirable pantomime of 
' Ninette a la Cour,' in which Mdlle. Heinel ap- 
peared. She was a celebrated dancer, and it was 
said desperately in love with Yestris, who had 
retired from the stage about a year before. She 
had formerly belonged to the Stuttgard Company, 
and was considered to excel in the more dignified 
cast of character. 

Que dans tout son ^clat, Ninette a paru plaire 
Qu'embelli par Vestris, ennobU par Heinel, 

Le ballet a du satisfaire. 
Puisqu'il n'otait deja critique si severe, 

Qui ne dit ; quand on a Gardel 

On ne jieut regretter Noverre. 

Noverre was at that time in London, where his 
ballets were very successful. One of them, entitled 
' Adele de Ponthieu,' he dedicated to the duchess 
of Devonshire. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 287 

The duchess du Nord was an object of universal 
admiration this evening ; every eye was turned on 
her ; she never looked so beautiful, and her dress 
was really magnificent Some person, I forgot 
who, compared her to Minerva, with the attributes 
of the Graces. 

Amonofst the verses with which our illustrious 
travellers were overwhelmed, the following appear 
to me the best, if it were only for their truth- 
They were composed on this same day by a gen- 
tleman of the court : — 

Loudly fame your name rehearses ; 

But lay a stock of patience by you 
To read the rondoes, odes, and verses 

With which the rhyming French will try you. 

These verses were given to me after the opera, 
by the princess de Chinay, lady of honour to the 
queen, in a visit that I paid her before going to 
sup with Madame de Mackan. She is a very good 
and amiable woman, equally distinguished for her 
refinement and her virtues. Her sister-in-law, the 
dowager princess of Chinay, 7iee Lepelletier de St. 
Fargeau, is lady of honour to Madame Victoria. 
Prince Chinay, father of Prince Henin, was mar- 
ried to Mdlle. Fitz-James, daughter of the duke of 
Fitz-James, governor of Limousin. They are of 
the family of ' Henin d'Alsace' or ' H^nin Lieland.' 
A daughter of Mdlle. d' Alsace was married to 



288 MEMOIRS OF 

Count Caraman (Riquet), a descendant of the en- 
gineer who constructed the canal of Languedoc. 
The mother of the princes of Chinay and Henin 
was a Beauveau-Craon. The title of jDrince of 
Chinay formerly belonged to the princes of Ligne, 
and descended by marriage to the house of Henin. 
SOth. — I rose very early, as I had ^oromised the 
grand-duchess to accompany her to Notre-Dame. 
The ceremonies were magnificent. The archbishop, 
Monseigneur de Suigne, ojSiciated. We were placed 
immediately next the choir. The music was de- 
lightful, and I felt deeply impressed by the imposing 
pomp of these catholic ceremonies. The countess 
du Nord gave a large sum to the poor and the 
' Enfans Trouves.' Her benevolence was inexhaust- 
ible ; it would not be possible to tell how much 
she and her august husband distributed in charity 
during their residence in Paris. No person applied 
to them in vain ; every day they left home Avith 
purses filled with gold, and returned without a louis. 
It was the wish of the empress ; and her children, 
hapjDy to obey her, did not spare the imperial 
treasury. 

This day I heard a piece of news which gave me 
great pleasure ; it was, that the king had registered 
in the Parliament an ordonnance, by which all cures 
were enjoined to record the declarations of all per- 
sons who presented their children, without question- 



THE BARONESS D'oBERKIKCH. 289 

ing them in any way. This was to prevent certain 
cures from tr37"ing to cast a doubt on the legitimacy 
of Protestant children. It did not recognise the 
vahdity of Protestant marriages, but it gave us hope 
for a better future. The grand-duchess was as much 
pleased as I : in the bottom of her heart she still 
loved her ancient brethren. 

After mass we dined with the countess du ISTord, 
and went afterwards with Madame Beckendorf to 
visit the '' Gobelins/ This interesting manufacture 
is unique in Europe, and some persons assert that 
the beauty of the tints imparted to the wool is 
materially assisted by the waters of the little river 
that flows near. The king has presented several of 
these magnificent hangings to their imperial high- 
nesses ; they were shown to us, amongst others, and 
were of incomparable beauty. During this visit I 
was very much alarmed by Madame Beckendorf, 
who got ill three times. She over-fatigued herself, 
and notwithstanding the delicacy of her health, she 
would undertake anything or everything. We re- 
turned to sup with the countess Skawronski, who 
had invited us to meet a great number of Russians. 
My poor friend was so ill that she was obliged to 
go home, and I consoled myself with the countess 
de Bruce, a clever and beautiful woman, who had 
been a long timie honoured by the friendship of the 
empress, but which she is said to have lost through 

VOL. L U 



290 MEMOIRS OF 

a jealous pique. They tell a rather strange story 
of this lady's powers of endurance. For an entire 
night she remained shut up in a press, where she 
ran the risk of being stifled, rather than appear 
before her irritated sovereign. When Catherine 
had retired, she was found almost expiring, but 
would never acknowledge the reason of her volun- 
tary punishment. Her husband, governor of St. 
Petersburg, did not share in her disgrace. I con- 
versed for a long time with this lady, whom I found 
very well informed, and without the slightest af- 
fectation. She laughed a great deal at one of her 
countrywomen, who was so tightly laced that she 
could scarcely breathe. 

" It is so delightful to inhale the air," said she. 
Perhaps she was thinking of the press. 

81s^ May. — I went with the countess du Nord 
to visit 'Les Invalides.' The grand-duke admired 
this institution very much': we went over every bit 
of it. The dome is magnificent. Here, as every- 
where else, the grand-duchess was admired and 
wondered at for the extent of her information and 
the correctness of her taste. She criticised and 
praised the paintings of the chapels, and of the 
dome, like one who fully understood the subject on 
which she spoke. Every person was struck by the 
superiority of her mind and education. She spoke 
for a long time with the governor, M. d'Espagne. 



THE BAEONESS d'oBEKKIRCH. 291 

The grand-duke inquired minutely into the state 
of these brave soldiers, who were better off then 
than when under the care of M. Leray de Chaumont, 
who was accused of amassing a fortune at the ex- 
pense of their comfort. The luxury of his delicious 
dwelling at Auteuil is considered a sufficient proof 
of the justness of the charge. 

This visit over, I called for the countess Skaw- 
ronski, and we went together to visit the ' Maison 
Thelusson.' This building was a strange fantasy ; 
it had already cost seven hundred thousand livres, 
•and was still far from being finished. It was one 
of the greatest attractions of Paris, and it was 
necessary to procure tickets of admission. It 
appeared to me more bizarre than beautiful ; the 
details were certainly most tasteful, and the stair- 
case superb. The arcade which looked on the 
street spoiled the perspective, and was universally 
condemned. People asked how would Mr. Thelus- 
son be able to support this establishment with the 
train of servants that it would require. He belongs 
to a very rich family of bankers. 

After dinner I set out again, still accompanied 
by the countess. We went to the Palais Royal, 
where we saw the pictures of the duke of Chartres, 
and the gallery of the Encyclopaedia. I was de- 
lighted with these pictures, amongst which were 
many chefs d'oeuvres ; but at the same time I do 

u2 



292 MEMOIES OF 

not pretend to be veiy learned in the fine arts. 
We were very much amused by an old valet de 
chambre, who has charge of the invalids of the 
palace, without the walls of which he had not been 
for many years. He was born in the stables of the 
regent, to whom he was afterwards jockey. He 
had outlived many masters. He was very old, 
over eighty, but was still active, and related many 
a tale of past times. His greatest pleasure was to 
do the honours of the palace, of which he showed 
us every part, giving the history of every room and 
corridor. AVhen we offered him a recompense for 
his trouble, he refused it proudly, saying, 

" Monseigneur pays his people ; and the old La- 
place has eaten the bread of the house of Orleans 
since he was born.'' 

After leaving the Palais Royal we went to see 
the small house and garden of Mdlle. Dervieux, a 
celebrated " fille de Topera." It was a gem. The 
furniture alone was worth the ransom of a king. 
Both court and city had contri]3uted to its decora- 
tion. Although Mdlle. Dervieux was thirty, she 
had the reputation of being more beautiful than 
those even ten years younger. She made her 
debut on the stage at fourteen, and was long the 
rival of Mdlle. Grumard. This house was in the Rue 
Chantereine. The garden, which was ornamented 
with a thousand curiosities, was laid out a VAnglaise 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCH. 293 

If I were to describe all the beautiful tilings I saw 
there, I should never finish. This MclUe. Dervieux 
was said to be very clever. Amongst the witty 
sayings recorded of her, I will relate one which 
was stolen by Mdlle. Sophia Arnould, and which it 
is only just to restore to the rightful owner. 

" A young man from the provinces, of little note 
or fortune, fell desperately in love with this beau- 
tiful disciple'of Terpsichore. He wrote, he prayed, 
but all in vain ; she was deaf to his cries. At length 
one day he cast himself weeping at her feet, and 
implored her to grant him even a small portion of 
her love. 

" ' Will you not give it to me as an alms T 
said he. 

" ' It is impossible, sir,' said she, ' I have too 
many poor already.' " 

Here is the other : — The duchess of ***, a 
woman of very peevish temper, very wicked and 
very ugly, which latter quality she considered a 
serious misfortune, as she was a great coquet. (Am 
I not right in not telling her name ?) This lady 
had a great desire to see this celebrated house of 
the actress, and went there one day, accompanied 
by one of her adorers, who had also the reputation 
of playing the same part towards Mdlle. Dervieux. 
The duchess, like me, found the house without an 
occupant, at least apparently so, and thinking 



294 ME^IOIPtS OF 

herself alone with her lover, gave free vent to the 
jealousy and the indignation with which all the 
luxury she saw inspired her. Of course the lady 
of the house was not spared. In entering the 
boudoir, the most delicious retreat in the world, 
she redoubled her exclamations. " Oh," said she, 
" this is too much, this exceeds all imagination ; 
it could only be equalled in the ' Arabian Nights !' -' 

At the same moment, a small door, skilfully con- 
cealed, opened, and showed the saucy and laughing 
face of Mdlle. Dervieux, who had been a concealed 
and angTy listener of all that had been said. 

" Yes, madam," said she, " you are right, and 
I doubt much whether you could offer anything 
half so charming." 

To what one exposes herself in entering into 
rivalry with these sort of persons ! I cannot under- 
stand how any woman could degrade herself thus, 
nor do I think that anything could excuse such 
conduct. 

I would not repeat these echoes of a dangerous 
and wicked world, but that I think it necessary to 
tell everything. 

After this visit, a little indiscreet perhaps, al- 
though we did not see any person, we visited St. 
Roch, St. Sulpice, and the church Des Quatre 
Nations, where we were shown the mausoleum of 
Cardinal Mazarin. It is a very fine piece of sculp- 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 295 

ture, but inferior to the tomb of Cardinal Richelieu, 
which we saw at Sorbonne. I will not describe 
either, as every person must either have seen or 
heard of them, and I would wish to avoid as much 
as possible, all unnecessary details. 

We next bent our steps to the garden of the 
Tuileries. It was delightful to traverse its winding 
paths, and inhale the perfume of its million flowers. 
We did not leave this charming place until late, 
and I could scarcely have torn myself away then, 
if it were not that I had promised to sup with 
Madame Thavanet. At supper I met the Mackans, 
with whom I was becoming more intimate every 
day, and Mdlle. Zicart, a young lady who played 
very well on the harp. This instrument was just 
then coming very much into fashion, and many 
ladies looked on it only as an opportunity of dis- 
playing their lovely arms, and beautiful feet, besides 
that the attitude of the performer was very grace- 
ful. This, however, was not the case with Mdlle. 
Zicart, who was a very retiring person. I found 
much pleasure in her society, and took her and her 
mother home in my carriage. 

1st June. — I dined with Madame Thavanet : M. 
d'Oberkirch could not come with me, as, to my 
great regret, he had been rather ill for some days. 
The dinner was very gay, I met there the countess 
of Clermont-Tonnerre, who had been married at 



296 MEMOIRS OF 

tlie commencement of that year. She had been 
canoness of Remiremont, and lady of honour to 
Madame Ehzabeth. She was called Countess Del- 
phine de Sorrans. She wa,s lively, gay, and witty ; 
I felt a great desire to become intimate with her, 
which I afterwards did, and I will often again have 
occasion to speak of her. She told us that the day 
that the countess du Nord had been present at the 
theatricals at Versailles, that the king remarked 

that of all gentlemen present the marquis of G 

was the most elegantly and richly dressed, and 
complimented him upon it. This nobleman, who was 
very much in debt, replied to him with a serio- 
comic air, — " Sire, that is due.'' In the morning 
I had gone with the countess du Nord to see 
Bao'atelle, a charmino; little residence in the Bois 
de Boulogne, belonging to the count of Artois, who 
did the honours with his usual grace. We were 
entertained with a concert, at which every musician 
in Paris assisted. The grand-duchess was delighted. 
The collation was worthy an epicure. The count 
of Artois is a most amiabe man, and very clever, 
not like his brother, the count of Provence, serious 
and grave, but possessing the true French genius 
for raillery and repartee. The grand-duchess ad- 
mired him very much. As we were leaving, a gen- 
tleman of the court presented her the following 
impromptu, written in crayon : — 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 297 

To all who around you admiringly throng, 

Noble pair, is your lineage revealed ; 
Had you wished an incognito lasting and long, 

'Tis your virtues you should have concealed. 

After dinner M. d'Oberkirch having sent me 
word that he was better, I went to visit the prin- 
cess de Bourbon, with whom I found the duchess 
de Lauzun, and the princess de H^nin, her two 
friends. Madame Lauzun, grand-daughter of the 
marshal de Luxembourg, was one of the most 
charming women in the world, well informed, witty, 
accomplished, and of a most amiable disposition. 
She was very much admired ; but was generally sad 
on account of the conduct of her husband, who for- 
sook her society often for that of unworthy rivals, 
and who of late had the audacity to proclaim that 
he was deeply enamoured of the queen. Her 
majesty could not endure him. An anecdote of 
this gentleman's folly was whispered in all the 
drawing-rooms of Paris,— I say whispered, because 
no person would tell it aloud, to spare the feelings 
of his amiable wife. It is said that he had the 
effrontery to assume the queen's livery, and follow 
her all day as a lackey, and even spent the night 
crouched at the door of her apartment. The queen 
did not even recognize him: he was in despair, 
when fortunately an opportunity offered of making 
himself more conspicuous. Her majesty was to 



298 • MEMOIRS OF 

drive from Trianon, and at the moment she ap- 
proached her carriage, he bent his knee to the 
ground, that she might tread upon it, instead of the 
usual step. Her majesty, surprised, looked at him 
now for the first time ; but like a woman of tact 
and good sense as she was, she did not pretend to 
know who he was, and calling a page she said — 

" I desire that that man should be dismissed ; 
he is very awkward ; he does not even know how 
to open a carriage door/" 

She passed on. M. de Lauzun was cut to the 
soul ; but, profiting by the lesson he had received, 
he very seldom after appeared at court. 

Madame de Lauzun does not complain, or even 
upbraid her husband, but she is generally silent 
and sad. 

The princess de Henin, who is equally neglected 
by her husband, takes it in better part, and declares 
herself very gTateful to his mistress, the celebrated 
actress, Mdlle. Arnould. She loves her husband 
just enough to prevent her hating him, and says 
that she is very glad he has got something to 
occupy him. 

" An idle man is so very wearisome," she adds. 

" Has the prince de Henin got something to do, 
then?" asked Mdlle. de Clermont, with malicious 
naivete. 

" Not from me, at least," replied the princess, 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 299 

with the greatest coolness. The poor prince de 
Henin was in fact one of the most tiresome men 
in the world. I forget who it was that called him 
the prince dwarf 

The princess de Bouillon received the best and 
most select society. On the evening of which I 
was speaking, I met at her house a doctor from 
Holland, who had only come the same year to 
Paris, and who professed a very singular doctrine, 
which he summed up in these words : — 

" Friendship is a sentiment, which obliges one 
to receive everything from the person who is called 
a friend, but not to feel annoyed by the debt, 
as one should never feel embarrassed with a 
friend." 

At that time I was frightened and shocked by 
this doctrine ; but, as I get older, I am obliged to 
admit that there is some truth in the maxim of 
the Dutch doctor. 

2nd June. — I went very early to the countess du 
Nord, who had asked me to accompany her in her 
visit to the royal library. We went, and spent 
several hours in looking at the scientific treasures 
it contains. What books, manuscripts, medals, 
curiosities, &c. &c. ! We examined particularly 
the two globes constructed by Father Coronelli, 
which were only just arrived. They have been 
since removed to Marly. They are the largest in 



300 MEMOIRS OF 

the known world. They are placed upon columns 
in the great hall, in the rez-de-chaussde ; they are 
twelve feet in diameter, and M. count du Nord 
told me that the largest in St. Petersburg measured 
but eleven. The grand-duchess takes a great in- 
terest in everything relating to science and literature, 
and said that she would feel much more desire to 
possess the books she saw around, than all the gold 
of the world. She had been very strictly educated. 
The princess de Montbeliard had a great con- 
tempt for frivolity, and would not permit that her 
daughters should acquire any of our ridiculous 
French habits ; in which I think she was perfectly 
right. From the library we returned to dinner ; 
there were no strangers, and we conversed together 
for some time, — a pleasure which the gTand-duke 
prefers to all other amusements, and in which he 
performs his part very well. He laughingly told 
us what had happened to him the evening before, 
at the Sorbonne. He had gone to see the tomb of 
Eichelieu, and one of the learned residents of the 
establishment did the honours ; and when they 
came to the tomb, said, — 

" Your illustrious ancestor, Peter the Great, has 
knelt before this tomb, saying, ' Great man, if you 
still lived I would give you half my possessions to 
teach me how to govern the other half " 

" If I were the cardinal, monsieur,'' rej^lied the 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. SOI 

grand- duke, " I would not expect to keep the gift 
long/' 

There was great shrewdness in this answer, 
especially when it was uttered by a son of Cathe- 
rine II. 

General Wurmser took me to hear the opera of 
' Theseus/ of which the music was composed by 
Sieur Gosset. The ladies were magnificently 
dressed. The music was applauded in the warmest 
manner ; it was very fine, particularly the chorus 
of demons. The acting was also very good. We 
had the Sieurs Legros and Larive, and Jvldlle. 
Duplau. 

The grand-duchess had made me promise to 
accompany her to the hal de Fopera, very much 
against my will, for I feel very little pleasure in 
such amusements ; but I would not wish to refuse 
her imperial highness. I supped with my dear 
princess, who was as joyous as a child, thinking of 
the pleasures of the ball. 

" I am going to be myself again,'' said she, 
'' until to-morrow." 

" Do not be so certain, madame," said the grand- 
duke. " You will have no more freedomx there 
than anywhere else ; and, for my part, I will have 
several spies there to watch you, for I am answer- 
able for you to the empress ; and, besides, the 
lieutenant of police will have ten of his men there. 



302 MEMOIRS OF 

You will of course meet the queen, accompanied 
by the minister of the royal household, whose 
duty it is to be near her majesty on all such occa- 
sions. Do you think that enough ?" 

" Ah ! it is a great deal too much/' said the 
princess laughing ; " you have chased away all my 
gaiety — but I do not believe you/' 

The countess du Nord wore a superb domino 
e7h chauve souris (the latest fashion) ; it was left 
open in front to show her dress, which was mag- 
nificently embroidered "with jet and spangles. She 
did not leave her husband's arm until she took 
that of M. d'Amelot, minister of the royal house- 
hold, whose guardianship of the queen was under- 
taken by the count of Provence. The princesses 
went very little out of their box, and remained 
together all the evening. The queen never mixes 
in the crowd, without taking care that she may be 
knoA\Ti, although people accuse her of doing so. 
She goes once through the assembly. I heard of 
a very piquant remark addressed to the duke de 
Chartres by an unknown mask dressed as a tower ; 
it appears that it occurred quite close to me with- 
out my knowing it. The prince was talking to a 
lady, when this mask approached and took part 
in the conversation, which was not at all agreeable 
to the duke, and he let the mask see that he was 
an intruder. The mask persevered, and the duke 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 803 

enraged asked him if he did not know who he 
was. The conversation had taken a very cynical 
tone, which was habitual to the duke, and on 
which he prided himself a great deal, although it 
was a great injury to him both at court and in 
general society. 

" I beg pardon, monseigneur," said the unknown, 
"I do know you, you have indeed unmasked your- 
self- 

The duke was stunned by this daring answer, 
and when he recovered his presence of mind, he 
said to one of the gentlemen of his suite who stood 
near — 

" Let that insolent man be arrested." 

The tower was seized, but it was empty ; its 
occupant had opened the door and disappeared 
amongst the crowd. The prince was outrageous, 
but there was no remedy. I remember the remark 
made by the count du Nord, with his usual pene- 
tration, when he was told of this adventure, 8.nd of 
some other things of this duke — 

" The king of France is very patient. If my 
mother had such a cousin he would not remain 
long in Russia. The consequences of these rebel- 
lions in the royal family are of more importance 
than may at first appear."^ 

I was very little amused by this ball. The 
atmosphere of such places breathes too much of 



304 MEMOIRS OF 

intrigue. I do not know how any virtuous woman 
can find pleasure there — one is obliged to hear so 
many exjDressions that must make one blush. The 
Parisian ladies think nothing of it ; but we poor 
provincials, unaccustomed to such things, feel very 
much hurt, and for our particularity are only 
called prudes. Is that a disgrace ? Often when 
Hstening to what was passing around me, I have 
been inclined to consider it as a compliment. 



I 



THE BARONESS d'OBEEKIRCH. 305 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Breakfast at the duke of Penthievre's — Account of the 
marriage of the duke of Chartres — The king's repug- 
nance to it — The CarmeHtes— M. Prati — Verses — Gross 
flattery — The duchess of Chartres' visit to the countess 
du Nord — Mesdames de Lcewestine and de Genhs — 
Estabhshment of St. Sulpice — Gift of the czarina — The 
Boutin folly — The count du Nord and M. Necker — • 
Madame Necker and her daughter — M. de Condorcet — 
Incident at Madame de Montesson's — Her marriage with 
the duke of Orleans- Remark of Madame du Barry — 
M. de Caumartin — Mdlles. Dugazon, Colombe, Lescot, 
and the Italian opera — Theatricals at Trianon — The 
queen speaks to me — At supper I sit next to Madame 
Elizabeth — Conversation about the Lort family — The 
female philosopher, author of thirty-two volumes. 

Srd June. — The countess clu Nord was so very- 
kind as to call for me at an early hour this morn- 
ing to bring me to Sceaux, the residence of the 
duke de Penthievre. She was to breakfast there, 
and insisted upon my going with her. I had no 
reason to regret my compliance. I visited a de- 
lightful abode : I saw the most virtuous, the best of 
princes, and the most charming of princesses. The 
count de Penthievre, son to the count de Toulouse, 
and grandson to Louis the Fourteenth, is certainly 
the most perfect man on earth. He lives at Sceaux 
in a charming retreat, far from the court, far from 
VOL. I. X 



306 MEMOIRS OF 

intrigues. He is not yet consoled, and never will 
be consoled for the death of his only son, the 
prince de Lamballes. His is a grief that is beyond 
description, as it is beyond comfort. His only re- 
maining child is the duchess de Chartres, who has 
inherited her father's goodness and virtues, as well 
as his immense fortune. 

The marriage of Mdlle. de Penthievre, brilliant 
as was the connexion, took place against her 
father's will. Certainly the match was a great 
one. The first prince of the blood did great 
honour to an illeo^itimate race in allving^ himself 
with them. However, the prince de Penthievre 
did not desire the distinction. He did not ad- 
mire the duke de Chartres, and the happiness of 
his child was dearer to him than a brilHant con- 
nexion. The abbe de Breteuil, chancellor to the 
duke of Orleans, was the first who conceived the 
idea of this union, but the duke of Orleans was not 
inclined to consent. The prince de Lamballes was 
then alive, and the duke did not think the fortune 
of Mdlle. de Penthievre large enough to wipe away 
the stain of illegitimacy. Things continued in this 
state until the fatal illness of the poor prince de 
Lamballes. Then the abbe de Breteuil brought 
the matter again upon the tapis, and by the iiTc- 
sistible argument of a large fortune triumj)hed 
over the repugnance of the duke of Orleans. He 



THE BAKONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 307 

begged the duke de Choiseul to arrange the affair. 
Durmg these proceedings, the prince de Conde 
asked the hand of Mdlle. de Penthievre for the 
duke of Bourbon, and he also apphed to the 
minister to further his aim. The duke de Choiseul 
did not conceal from him that his services were 
already engaged by the house of Orleans, and so 
gave him very little hopes of success. The duke 
de Penthievre had in fact accepted the Orleans" 
offer, arranged all his affairs, and made his will in 
favour of his daughter, but refused to give at that 
time more than fifty thousand crowns a year. The 
friends of Orleans exclaimed. M. de Penthievre 
replied that his son lived still — that though the 
physicians despaired of him God could work a 
miracle. The health of the prince was in fact im- 
proving. The duke of Orleans then withdrew his 
proposition, pleading the smallness of the fortune. 
The duke de Penthievre became furious ; the duke 
de Choiseul was also very angry with the duke of 
Orleans, and declared that during his life he would 
never again meddle with his affairs. The prince 
de Conde, observant of all these proceedings, 
thought the moment favourable to urge his suit ; 
the duke de Choiseul spoke for him. The duke 
de Penthievre would have perhaps yielded, but 
just at this time his son died. Then the Orleans 
family again came forward ; every calculation was 

x2 



308 MEMOIRS OF 

macie ; the property of this house united to that of 
Mdlle. de Penthievre would amount to more than 
eight millions yearly ; such a prize ought not be 
allowed to escape. On the other hand, M. de 
Penthievre, offended though he was, felt the advan- 
tage of the connexion ; but what, above all, induced 
him to consent was the decided inclination of his 
daughter for the alliance. She had seen the duke 
de Chartres once at the house of Madame de 
Modene ; he handed her to her carriage ; and she 
declared, on returning to her convent, that she 
would never many any but him. 

But the great difficulty w^as to obtain the con- 
sent of the king. Whatever people may have said, 
and whatever they may still say, Louis the Fif- 
teenth had common sense ; he felt that this im- 
mense fortune would be a powerful lever in the 
hands of the first prince of the blood, and in times 
of revolt might become a dangerous weapon against 
the throne. He at first refused to consent. M. de 
Choiseul had much trouble to persuade him. 

" Sire, the elders have the crown, which places 
them beyond all rivalry." 

" Take care, duke, of giving the youngers the 
means of snatching it from them.'' 

The king refused for a long time, and at length 
yielded only to the entreaties of the duke de Pen- 
thievre, for whom he entertained a friendship 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 309 

commenced in childhood. Still this consent was 
accompanied by restrictions and repeated observa- 
tions. 

" You are wrong, cousin ; the duke de Chartres 
has a bad temper, is a man of bad habits, he is a 
libertine. Your daughter Avill not be happy ; do 
not be in a hurry, wait.'' 

The princess, however, was in a hurry ; her 
father adored her, he yielded, and the marriage 
took place. Both father and daughter have often 
since had occasion to remember the words of the 
old king. 

All this did not render our fete at Sceaux less 
charming. The duchess de Chartres did the 
honours with extreme amiability. Fountains and 
jets-d'eau played in every direction. We made the 
tour of these beautiful grounds in open carriages 
drawn by six horses, and in which almost all 
the ladies found places. The society was very 
select — ^the breakfast was magnificent. The duke 
de Penthievre is adored by his vassals, who are 
loaded with his benefits. There is not an unhappy 
person at Sceaux. During the drive, their high- 
nesses were everywhere greeted with enthusiastic 
cries of joy ; I have never heard the like. How 
delightful it is to be loved as the good prince de 
Penthievre is by his vassals ! 

On returning to Paris I went to meet the 



SIO MEMO IKS OF 

Countess Skawronski, with whom I dined. We 
had made an appointment to visit the different 
churches. We went first to the two that are dedi- 
cated to St. Genevieve, then to the cathedral Notre 
Dame, le Val de Grace, and lastly to the Carmelite 
church. We there admired the superb picture of 
Madame de la Yalliere, representing the Virgin. It 
is there that this celebrated sinner finished her life 
in penitence and repentance, after thh-ty-eight 
years passed in retreat and tears. It is touching to 
reflect on this ; and no one thinks of reproaching 
her with faults which have been so bitterly lamented. 
We afterwards paid some visits, and supped with 
the countess du Nord. Nothing was talked of 
during supper but Sceaux and its owners. Our 
praises were inexhaustible. The count du Nord 
retained the most tender recollection of the good 
duke de Penthievre. That was indeed a prince 
according to his own heart. 

4^A June. — Went to visit the countess du Nord, 
who showed me a ballad and a rondo for the harp- 
sichord, which had been presented to her the same 
morning by a musical composer, named M. Prati. 
They were ornamented with the cij)hers of the 
countess du Nord (Marie Federowna), and those 
of her husband (Paul Petrowitz), designed with 
great taste and elegance. Within the letters M. F. 
the following verses were inserted : — 



THE BARONESS D'OBERKIRCK. 3 1 1 

Like the sweet flowers round lier springing, 

Bright and gentle Marie beams ; 
Nobly graceful, soft and winning, 

Like the youngest Grace she seems. 

Between the strokes of the letters P. P. the 
following lines were inserted : — 

When Europe Asia's victor saw 
O'er Russia rule by wholesome law, 
She wondering gazed ; her wonder rose, 
When regal power aside he throws, 
Could ev'ry tempting lure withstand, 
And knowledge seek from land to land. 
His crown shall now descend to you. 
And with his crown his genius too. 

The duchess de Chartres arrived in the midst of 
this discourse, accompanied by the countess de 
Loewestine, lady in waiting. The air and manner 
of the princess pleased and touched me still more 
than on the previous evening. Her smile is sad, 
and her eyes have a melancholy expression : when 
she ceases to speak, she sighs and seems lost in 
thought. She loves her children passionately, and 
one of her greatest causes of vexation is to see 
herself supplanted by Madame de Genlis in the 
direction of their education. I am not anxious to 
record scandals ; but this exceeds all the rest. 
Madame de Genlis, or Madame de Sillery, is very 
beautiful, very intellectual, but certainly a Httle 
pedantic ; she is a Mdlle. Necker refined. I do 
not know who has caricatured her armed with a 



312 MEMOIRS OF 

stick of barley -sugar and a rod. No representa- 
tion could give a more correct idea of her character. 
Madame de Loewestine is daughter to Madame de 
Genlis. 

When the princess left, we went to visit the 
Gobelins, which I had already seen, but which I 
found pleasure in beholding again. The countess 
du Nord gave fifty louis to the workmen. AVe 
went afterwards to the establishments of the cure 
of St Sulpice, which the countess du Nord exa- 
mined minutely. The cure showed us everything 
himself, related a thousand interesting circum- 
stances, and presented to the gTand-duchess a 
golden medal that he had just received from the 
czarina, to whom he had sent a synopsis of his 
system. He was penetrated with gratitude, and 
lauded the empress to the skies. 

" You are perfectly right,'' said the princess, " the 
empress is the mother of her subjects ; she has the 
strongest intellect and the best heart in Europe." 

I have never heard the countess du Nord speak 
otherwise of the empress. Those who fancied that 
she entertained different sentiments were mistaken. 
I did not do much on this day. I returned home 
early ; their royal highnesses went to a private fete 
given by the duke of Orleans at his house in the 
Chauss^e d'Antin. 

oth June, — This was a very busy day. We were 



THE BARONESS d'oBERIvIRCH. 313 

obliged to rise early and dress hastily, the countess 
du Nord having declared that she would take no 
excuse, and that I should accompany her every- 
where. Nothing could be more agreeable to me. 
My greatest happiness was to be with her, to see 
her as frequently as possible, knowing that I was 
not to enjoy this happiness long. We went before 
breakfast to visit the gardens of M. Boutin, rcceveur- 
general des finances, privy councillor and treasurer 
to the Admiralty. He is brother to the intendant 
des finances, who was so much talked of at the time 
of the formation of the East India Company. He 
called his garden ' Tivoli ;' but its popular appella- 
tion is ' Boutin's folly.' Folly it may well be 
called. He has expended or rather buried millions 
there. It is certainly a delightful place. At every 
step fresh wonders spring up : grottoes, groves, 
statues, and beautiful pavilions, furnished with 
princely luxury. It is only a king or financier who 
could indulge such expensive fancies. M. Boutin 
often gives suppers here, the elegance and luxury 
of which are in accordance with the sumptuous 
decorations of the place. 

After having seen Tivoli, where we were served 
with milk and fruits in golden vessels, we went to 
pay another visit, much more interesting in my 
opioion ; this was to M. and Madame Necker, at 
St. Ouen, where they had a country place. JA. 



o 



14 MEMOIRS OF 



Necker had quitted the contvole-general in '81, 
after his celebrated conipte rendu. His disgrace 
or his retreat has made much noise in Europe 
Opinions are divided about him ; some praise him 
to the skies, whilst others blame him excessively. 
Whatever may be my sympathy for a Protestant, I 
must confess that M. Necker, after having spoken 
so much of diminishing the taxes, increased them. 
His enemies seem to have some grounds for ac- 
cusing him of charlatanism. The count du Nord 
conversed for an hour tete-a-tete with him. 

" I am come," said he, on entering the apart- 
ment, " to join my tribute of admiration to that of 
all Europe." 

It appeared to me that his highness, on quitting 
le grand homnie, was a little less enthusiastic. He 
asked us in the carriage whether we knew the fable 
of the sticks floating in the water. This remark 
from the lips of the grand-duke was sufficient evi- 
dence of his opinion. 

As to me, M. Necker's personal appearance did 
not please me. I was struck by his extraordinary 
likeness to Cagliostro. He does not, however, 
possess the Neapolitan's sparkling glance and 
spirit-striking expression. He was a mummied 
Cagliostro, of stiff and disagreeable aspect — a mere 
Geneva burgher. Madame Necker was still worse. 
Notwithstanding the high position she has occujDied, 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 315 

she is a tutoress, and nothing more. She is pedantic 
and conceited beyond all bounds. Daughter of a 
village parson named Churchod, she received an 
excellent education, from which she drew a sort of 
perverse advantage. She is handsome, and not 
agreeable ; benevolent, and not loved. Her body, 
her mind, her heart, are deficient in grace. It 
seems as if the Almighty, before uniting her body 
to her soul, had steeped both the one and the other 
in a bucket of starch water. She has never pos- 
sessed the art of pleasing. In a word, she knows 
neither how to weep nor smile. Her father was 
poor ; she opened a boarding-school for young 
girls at Geneva. She w^as brought to Paris by 
Madame de Vermenoux, celebrated for her beauty 
and gallantry. This Madame de Vermenoux was 
intimate with the abb^ Raynal, with M. Mar- 
montel, with other philosophers, and, in short, with 
M. Necker. The latter soon wearied her ; I can 
imagine the rest ; he would have wearied me too. 
To get rid of him, she conceived the idea of marry- 
ing him to Mdlle. Churchod. 

" They will weary one another," said she, '' and 
that will be occupation for them." 

But it was strangers they wearied, for they adored 

'one another, and their mutual compliments and 

flatteries were unceasing. Each became a thurifer 

to the other, especially Madame Necker, who 



316 ME^IOIES OF 

burned large quantities of incense before her hus- 
band. 

Mdlle. Necker appeared to me a very different 
person from her parents, although she, too, had 
something of the Genevese stamp, and swung her 
thurible with great industry. But for her eyes, 
which are splendid, one w^ould almost say that she 
is ugly. Her figure is beautiful ; she is very fair, 
and there is a sparkling intelligence in her glance. 
I formed an opinion of her then which has since 
been realized ; she is and always will be a remark- 
able woman. 

The count and countess du Nord were very 
gracious in their deportment towards this family ; 
the gTand-duchess in particular said so many 
amiable things about their retirement, and the 
manner in which it was supported, that Madame 
Necker fainted, so deeply was she affected. The 
amiability, grace, and judgment of the princess, 
won every heart. 

This visit detained us until one o'clock. Their im- 
perial highnesses were expected at the Academy of 
Sciences, where they were received by the most dis- 
tinguished members. M. de Condorcet pronounced 
an emphatic, turgid, and conceited discourse. He 
entered into metaphysical discussions, very barren 
and weak in comparison to those of our German 
philosophers. The countess du Nord gave a sly 



THE BAEONESS b'oBERKIRCH. 317 

glance at me whilst he poured forth this 
bathos. 

The count du Nord was presented with a piece 
of ivory, carved by Peter the Great, and of which 
he had made a present to the Academy in 1717 : 
it had ever since occupied a distinguished place in 
the collection. As for us, during all this time we 
were dying of hunger, so that the grand-duke, 
through compassion, abridged his admiration and 
his praises. Their imperial highnesses were shown 
out with the same ceremony with which they had 
been received ; but I can never forget Madame de 
Beckendorf, who, being enciente, had a perpetual 
appetite. Even whilst making her courtesy, she 
continued to nibble furtively a piece of bread that 
she had drawn from her pocket. She seemed like 
a little girl, afraid of the rod ; the grand-duchess 
could scarcely refrain from laughter at the sight. 

We sat at table like starving people. During 
dinner, the conversation turned upon the entertain- 
ment of the previous evening given by the duke 
d'Orleans, or rather by Madame de Montesson. 
The supper had been magnificent. The count du 
Nord had been rather ill, and did not stay for 
supper, neither did the grand-duchess. Their ab- 
sence was a serious mortification to Madame de 
Montesson. A little incident had occurred at the 
arrival of the princess, which annoyed her, and 



818 MEMOIRS OF 

vexed seriously the cluke d'Orleans and tlie mistress 
of the house. Whilst Comus was making- his 
rounds, before the comedy, several persons had the 
indiscretion to take the best places in the theatre, 
without awaiting the arrival of the countess du 
Nord, nor leaving a vacant place for her. The 
duke d'Orleans testified loudly and warmly his ill- 
humour, and, notwithstanding all the efforts of the 
grand -duchess, who was very sorry to be the cause 
of so much annoyance, the persons who had taken 
the places were obliged to resign them. 

It was said at court that his serene highness, not 
being able to obtain j^ermission from the king to 
make Madame de Montesson duchess of Orleans, 
had become himself M de Montesson. As far as 
appearances went nothing could be more true. The 
prince identified himself mth the remarks, the 
quaiTels, and petty hatreds of the marchioness ; he 
saw only with her eyes, and certain it is that she 
had often made him forget his princely dignity. 
Madame de Montesson displayed in comedy much 
feeling and sensibility. She was a woman of talent, 
but cross and disagreeable when she wished. The 
reports relative to her birth did not agree ; some 
said she was noble, others plebeian, according to 
the likings or antipathies of the different parties. 
She had been first known as Mdlle. de la Haye, 
and married the duke de Montesson, a doting old 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 319 

man, for the sake of his name and property. She 
won the affections of the duke d'Orleans, a worthy 
prince, but very dull. Before knowing this lady, 
his sole passion had been a devotion to the plea- 
sures of the table. Madame de Montesson had the 
address to keep him in her train, and to make a 
great display of virtue until the death of her husband, 
when his serene highness made her a proposal of 
marriage. The cunning puss accepted it, and paid 
great court to Madame du Barry during the life of 
Louis XV. Marriage was the aim and object of 
Madame du Barry. The degradation of the royal 
family weighed little with her ; and were the king 
inclined to marry her, she was incapable of that 
patriotic devotedness which, by refusing such an 
offer, would have saved the crown from being, so to 
say, trampled in the mud. It is well known that 
she said on this occasion, m her vulgar cant, to the 
duke d'Orleans, who prayed her intercession with 
the king, — 

" Marry first, gros peve — we will consider after- 
wards." 

He did marry, but he could never obtain permis- 
sion from the king to declare his marriage ; on the 
contrary, his majesty gave him to understand that 
if Madame de Montesson attempted, in any way, 
to take precedence of women of rank, he would, 
without ceremony, order her to be shut up in the 



820 MEMOIRS OF 

Bastille. This decree was iiTevocable ; the prince 
complained, almost aloud. He was distractedly 
in love with the lady, and was in despair at 
not being able to give her the rank due to her 
charms. He gave her, at least, a fortune equivalent 
to her pretensions, for he expended extravagant 
sums of money for her, both at Sainte- Assise and 
at Paris. 

Amongst the performers favoured by Madame 
de Montesson, was M. de Caumartin, maltre des 
requetes, and son of the prevot des niarcliands.^ 
He was a young man of about thirty years of age, 
very agreeable, and a great favourite with ladies of 
all ranks. One of the ulcers of society, which is 
every day becoming more envenomed, and which 
will prove fatal if a remedy be not applied, is the 
attention paid by gentlemen to actresses and to 
women who disregard the ties of marriage. They 
devote a great deal of their time to them, not pub- 
licly, for they dare not do that, but in private. 
How many men ruin their properties to deck such 
women with gold and jewels ! It is an unparalleled 
scandal, repugnant to every upright mind, and to 
which no remedy has been yet applied, notwith- 
standing the lamentations of famihes. I have no 
desire to set myself up as a moralist, but I confess 

A rank corresponding to that of lord mayor of London. 

—E'litor's Note. 



THE BARONESS d'OBERKIRCH. 821 

that I have often congratulated myself upon not 
having a son, that I may be free of this and other 
embarrassments. 

^ih June. — I retired immediately after dinner to 
make my toilette, as I purposed going to the Italian 
Opera. I took a place in the box of the countess de 
Hall will. The piece was ' the Samnite Marriages.' 
It was not very amusing, but there are at the Ita- 
lian Opera three charming actresses, Mdlles. Du- 
gazon, Colombo, and Lescot. 

The first is very handsome, and plays with much 
spirit. 

The second has a lovely face, and a magnificent 
figure. 

The third is very graceful and artless in her ap- 
pearance. The following couplets have been made 
upon these three ladies : — 

C'est pour I'indolente richesse 

Que Ton inventa les soplias : 
Mais vers ce lit de la mollesse 

Mes desirs ne me portent pas. 
Je pref^re la belle nature 

A tous les coussins d'6dredon. 
Qui fait le mieux, je vous le jure 

Parler d'amour, c'est Dugazon. 
Circ6, changeant rhomme en oiseau, 

D'un seul coup de baguette, 
Fourmit la femelle au moineau, 

Le mile a la fauvette ; 
Chez elle, il faut s'appareiller : 
Qu'elle me transforme en raroier, 

Car j'aime la Colombe. 
VOL. I. Y 



322 MEMOIRS OF 

En prenant des bains dans un fleuve, 

Mon mal de nerfs doit s'affaiblir, 
Je brule de tenter I'epreuve, 

Mais quel fleuve dois-je choisir? 
L'eau du Rhin n'est pas assez pure, 

Le Danube a trop de froidure, 
Le Senegal serait trop chaud, 

Je le vois, le mal que j 'endure 

Ne pent guerir que par VEscot. 

There is too much freedom of language and 
thought in these verses ; but I cite them in support 
of what I said a while ago. A spirit of unbridled 
licence is abroad. The free-and-easy manners which 
gentlemen acquired in the society of these demoi- 
selles has spread their contagion in circles within 
which deference should never be laid aside. Loose 
expressions are used in presence of the most re- 
spectable women. This is a trait of manners that 
I would not wish to omit, and of which the source 
is very remote. Volumes may be written on this 
truth, which is too true, as Figaro says. 

6th June. — Mdlle. Schneider awoke me this 
morning at six o'clock This poor Schneider has 
never been able to learn a word of French, even in 
Paris, and makes incessantly the most comical 
blunders. She announces one name instead of 
another ; says that I am ill when I am perfectly 
well ; and a week since, made every exertion to 
induce me to swallow a dose of medicine that had 
been brought for M. d'Oberkirch, declaring that the 



THE BARONESS D'oBERKIRCH. 323 

apothecary had said that it was for me, and that 
apothecaries ought to be obeyed. I had some 
difficulty in convincing her that the stuff was not 
for me. 

This blessed 6th of June she awakened me at 
the earliest dawn : I was to get my hair dressed, 
and make a grand toilette, in order to go to Ver- 
sailles, whither the queen had invited the countess 
du Nord, for whose amusement a comedy was to 
be performed. These court toilettes are never- 
ending, and this road from Paris to Versailles very 
fatiguing, especially when one is in coQtinual fear 
of rumpling her petticoat and flounces. I tried 
that day, for the first time, a new fashion — one, too, 
which was not a little genante. I wore in my hair 
little flat bottles shaped to the curvature of the 
head ; into these a little water was poured, for the 
purpose of preserving the freshness of the natural 
flowers worn in the hair, and of which the 
stems were immersed in the liquid. This did not 
always succeed, but when it did the effect was 
charming. Nothing could be more lovely than 
the floral wreath crowning the snowy pyramid of 
powdered hair. 

The countess du Nord was already in her apart- 
ment at the chateau when I arrived. I met the 
queen in the antechamber ; she had just left the 



824 MEMOIRS OF 

princess. When I made a cnrtsy, slie had the 
goodness to notice me, and did me the honour of 
saying, with her customary grace, that she expected 
to see me that evening at Trianon. 

" I shall have much pleasure in seeing you 
there, baroness,'* added she ; " the countess du 
Nord speaks too frequently of you not to make 
us Avish to see you very often." 

The gi'and-du chess, to whom I repeated these 
words, did me the honour of sapng that nothing 
could be more gratifying to her, and that she 
would not fail to thank the queen. 

" A kindness done to my dear Lanele is more 
gratifying to me than if offered to myself.'' 

These were her very words. I was deeply 
affected. Friendship is a sentiment so rare in 
persons of her rank : but princes certainly need 
great discrimination to avoid being duped by their 
pretended friends. Self-interest is the universal 
touchstone and spring of action. Has God created 
man so egotistical, or is it the corruption of the 
times that has rendered him such ? I leave it to 
wiser heads than mine to decide the question. 

' Zemire and Azore,' this delightful opera of 
M. Gr^try, was performed at Trianon. The sing- 
ing was enchanting. Her majesty is a very good 
musician, and pupil of the Chevalier Gluck. The 



THE BAEONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 325 

little theatre at Trianon is a gem : the splendour 
of the diamonds was dazzling to behold. 

After ' Zemire and Azore/ ' La jeune Fran9aise 
an S^rair was performed. This is a ballet en 
action, by the elder Sieur Gardel, ballet-master 
to the queen. The dances were lively and grace- 
ful, the costumes admirable, and the actors still 
more admirable than the costumes. The court 
was radiant that day. The countess du Nord wore 
upon her head a little bird made of precious stones, 
so brilliant that no eye could gaze upon it steadily. 
It was fixed upon a spring ; the slightest movement 
of the wearer put it into motion, when it fluttered 
its wings above the rose on which it seemed to be 
perched. The queen admired it so much that she 
ordered a similar one for herself. 

Supper was laid on three tables ; places for a 
hundred persons at each table. I had the honour 
of being placed near Madame Elizabeth, and of 
beholding, at my ease, this pious princess. In the 
splendour of youth and beauty she refused every 
matrimonial alliance, that she might not be sepa- 
rated from her family. 

" I could only marry the son of a king,'' said she ; 
" and the son of a king should one day reign over 
the dominions of his father. I would be no longer 
French. I would not wish to give up my claim 



326 MEMOIRS OF 

to my country : it is better to remain here at the 
foot of my brother's throne than to sit upon a 
foreign one." 

She did me the honour of speaking a great deal 
with me about the family de Lort, having known 
the mother at court and the daughter at St. Cyr. 
Madame Elizabeth still remembered this circum- 
stance, I do not know how, and made it the sub- 
ject of a very agreeable conversation.* The queen 
did me the honour of speaking to me several 
times, and of taking part in my conversation with 
the princess, whose remarks she caught notwith- 
standing the numbers who spoke around. 

The company afterwards descended to the gar- 
dens to see the illuminations, which were mag- 
nificent. Trianon is certainly an enchanting spot ; 
and yet the gardens of many private individuals 
have cost more, for example, the ' Boutin folly,' 
^ St. James's folly,' the ' Beaujeu folly,' the park 
of ' Brunoy,' and many others. The queen has 
been accused of expending the public money on 
extravagant follies, because she got a Swiss hamlet 
built in her crarden. What an extravaojant ex- 

* The daughters of the baron de Lort were, the 
countess de Lort, canoness, who became ' intendante de 
la maison imperiale et royale de I'education,' founded at 
Milan by Napoleon ; the countess de Bernhausen, and a 
third sister. — Editor''s Note. 



THE BARONESS d'oBERKIRCH. 827 

penditure for the queen of France ! ! ! Ah, envy, 
bitter envy is the secret cause of many of these 
outbursts of pretended justice. 

^th June. — I returned from Versailles just in 
time for dinner. I had recovered the fatigue of 
the previous evening, and had walked a little in 
the park. After a conjugal dinner, I went to the 
house of an eheniste, named Pricourt, who made 
furniture of wondrous beauty : he showed us all 
kinds. I passed two hours there so agreeably that 
I was scarcely in time for the opera, whither I ac- 
companied the countess du Nord, who wished to 
see 'Thesee' again. My princess was delighted 
with the fete of the previous evening, and spoke 
incessantly of the queen and her kind attentions. 

" How I should like to live with her, and how 
delighted I would be if the count du Nord were 
dauphin of France, without ceasing to be czar ! '' 
added she, smiling. " I feel constantly the embar- 
rassment of rank, — how it thwarts the affections \" 

She gave me afterwards some very strange 
verses, which she had just received. I transcribe 
them with their conceited title : — 

A Prediction for the Countess du Nord, hy a Female 
Philosopher, author of thirty-two volumes. 

The star of the north, whose soft-beaming ray 
Throws over our court a radiance so bland, 

Seems to pause in its orbit, as wiUing to stay. 
And fix its abode in our happy land. 



328 MEMOIRS, ETC. 



As it rises serene the clouds are dispersed, 
Apollo himself seems retracing his track, 

Recalling the rays that in showers were immersed, 
And leading young spring time all-blushingly back. 

It was not worth while to write thirty-two 
volumes to acquire the right to print a thirty- 
third of such nonsense as this. 



END OF VOL. I. 



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